There is no requirement to register a will through a central registry of Wills for England and Wales.
Typically a Will is held by the Solicitor who drafted it and the first approach should be to the deceased’s Solicitor.
If the original Will has not been lodged with a Solicitor, it could be kept at home or with a family member.
If the original Will cannot be found (or a photocopy can be located but not the original), then further steps need to be taken.
The Will is a private document and only becomes a public document when Grant of Probate is issued. However, you need to locate the Will in order to apply for Grant of Probate.
A search can be conducted at all local Solicitors’ firms. We can undertake this for you, quickly and inexpensively.
Once the Grant has been issued the Will becomes a public document. There is no obligation to release a copy of the Will to anyone before the Grant.
There is an exception to this general rule where a person brings a claim against the validity of the Will in which case it is possible to obtain a copy as part of the pre-action disclosure process (and if necessary you can seek a Court Order to force its release).
Following the Grant of Probate, the Will (and Grant) becomes a public document and a copy can be obtained from the Probate Registry.
If the Grant of Probate may not yet have been issued, a Standing Search can be applied for. This is a search which continues for a fixed period of six months so that if an application for a Grant is made within that period, a copy of the Grant and Will is sent out.
Wills and LPAs - I have great admiration for your various attributes as a solicitor; your empathy, knowledge, patience, thoughtfulness, tenacity, and many more. I am most grateful for the time and effort that you spend with me over the making of several Wills.
Sheltons Solicitors is a trading name of Edward Hands & Lewis Limited, a company registered in England & Wales with company number 07001422 having its registered office at City Gate House, 11 St Margaret’s Street, Leicester, LE1 3EA. The directors are Jason Hathaway, Leanne Hathaway, Andrew Robinson, Paul Stubbs and Emma Fuller. We use the word “Partner” to refer to the most senior individuals at Edward Hands & Lewis Limited and its use in connection with the business of Edward Hands & Lewis Limited should not be construed as an indication that any individual carries on business in Partnership with any other individual within the meaning of the Partnership Act 1980, or that they are personally liable to you or any other party for any acts or omissions. Individuals named as Partners owe no personal obligations to you in either contract or tort, nor does the title “Partner” mean that they have any authority to bind the firm. We are authorised and regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority and our registered practice number is 533589. Our VAT No. is 114080418.