You can usually find someone’s will with other important financial documents, such as bank statements and pension information. If you can’t find it in their house, you could search online to see if the will is recorded on the National Will Register.
The executors named in the will are responsible for applying for probate and dealing with the estate, so they should also be the ones who try to track down the will.
When someone writes a will with Farewill, we always advise that they tell their executors where they’ve stored it. This helps to make things much easier when they’re gone.
If you’re the executor of a will and weren’t told where the will is stored – or, they did tell you but the will is no longer there – there are a number of ways you can try to get a copy of the will.
If you’re the executor of someone’s estate, you’ll need to track down the will before you can apply for a grant of probate. Here are a couple of places you can look:
Most people choose to store their will alongside other important financial documents, such as bank statements, life insurance policies and pension information. You’ll need all of these anyway before you can apply for probate, so it’s worth collecting them up while looking for the will.
If the person who died had a study, safe or filing cabinet, you’ll likely find their financial documents there. Alternatively, you could try searching through other drawers around the house.
If you know the person or company they made their will with, you could try contacting them to get a copy of the will. You could even try calling a number of different firms to ask if your loved one made a will with them.
If you can’t find the will by searching the house or contacting local solicitors, you may be able to get a copy from the probate registry if the will was stored with them.
When someone writes a will, they set out wishes for what they want to happen after they die. This includes things like:
If they took the time to make a will, it’s important to do everything you can to follow their wishes.
If you’ve searched everywhere and are struggling to find the will, don’t worry. You’ll still be able to go through the probate process and sort out the estate. However, you’ll need to apply for a slightly different document – this is called a grant of letters of administration.
Depending on your specific situation, it may be someone else’s responsibility to handle the application. This is usually the next of kin of the person who died, such as their spouse or civil partner, but we’ll explain this in more detail below.
When someone dies without a will, they’re called ‘intestate’. This means that there are no legally-binding wishes setting out what they wanted to happen to their estate. So, instead, a set of laws come into play called the rules of intestacy.
The rules of intestacy define who inherits the estate when there isn’t a will – and it’s the person who stands to inherit the most who is responsible for applying for probate. We’ve listed who should apply for probate in order of priority below:
Once the probate application has been approved by the government, the person named on the application will become the administrator of the estate. This gives them the right to close accounts, sell property and distribute assets following the rules of intestacy. You can find out more about how to get probate without a will here.
*If children are under 18, an adult can apply on their behalf. This is usually a parent or someone else with parental responsibility.
If you don’t have time to value assets, sell property and deal with the estate admin yourself, or if the estate is particularly complex, you may be interested in our full estate administration service.
Compared to quotes they’ve been given on the high street, our customers are often surprised at how affordable our estate admin service is – so it’s worth getting a quote when you’re on the phone. Simply give us a call today on 020 3695 2090 and we’ll take care of the rest.
The duties of an executor: executor of will checklist
Our probate specialists are here to help and can offer you a free, no obligation quote over the phone.