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Vincent2013
Vincent2013, JustAnswer Expert
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 213
Experience:  Qualified solicitor and barrister (non-practising) with 7+ years experience
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My father died 12 years ago and my mother died nearly 3 years

Customer Question

My father died 12 years ago and my mother died nearly 3 years ago.

Probate was some years ago.

A circumstance has arisen and I need to find copies of both their wills.

thanks
Lindsay
Submitted: 3 years ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  Vincent2013 replied 3 years ago.

Vincent2013 :

Hi, thanks very much for your question. My name's XXXXX XXXXX I'm going to assist you with it.

Vincent2013 :

The solicitor is very likely to have a copy of the will but, whether they still have these, will depend on the firm’s file retention policies and the instructions of their clients (your parents).

Vincent2013 :

Solicitors almost always provide a service in which they will hold a copy/original of the will (at no additional cost) and there are professional rules relating to the retention of original wills.

Vincent2013 :

The original will remains the property of the client until his death and then is the property of the estate. Thus, broadly, only the client or the executor/s can ask for a copy or original from the solicitor. If you need to contact the solicitor but do not know who dealt with the estate, there is an online service called certainty.co.uk

Vincent2013 :

Certainty.co.uk do not hold copies of wills but you can request a search (for a fee) and if the will has been registered, it will assist you in locating it. Many solicitors use certainty.co.uk and it generally seen as very useful tool for tracking down wills.

Vincent2013 :

However, your first port of call is probably to contact the executor and if you have no luck there (or you were the executor and you no longer have a copy) you can write to the Postal Searches and Copies Department requesting a search. There is a small charge but if the "grant of representation" is traced, the search fee includes a copy of the Will.

Vincent2013 :

If nothing is traced, you will get a letter advising you of this.


 

Vincent2013 :

Applications are made on form PA1S, which can be found here ( https://hmctsformfinder.justice.gov.uk/HMCTS/GetForm.do?court_forms_id=739 ) and you should also enclose the fee.

Vincent2013 :

Can I calrify anything for you you?

Vincent2013 :

Apologies, I hit the return key too quickly. What I meant to say was that, in summary, your options are: (i) if you were the executor or you are in contact with the executor/s (and none of you have copies within your paper work), you could request copies from the solicitor/s; (ii) if you do not know who dealt with the estates, there is an online service called certainty.co.uk which you can use to trace a registered will (for a fee) and (iii) if probate was been granted for both wills, you can make an application to the Postal Searches and Copies Department to obtain them (for a small fee). In the circumstances, unless you can easily obtain a copy from the executor/solicitor, the best route would be to make a search with the Postal Searches and Copies Department. I should point out that it can take up to four weeks for them to contact you after you submit your request. Can I clarify anything for you?

Vincent2013 :

Hi there, Lindsay. I can see that you've stepped in and out of the chat. Do let me know if you're experiencing any technical difficulties and whether you need any further information.

Expert:  Vincent2013 replied 3 years ago.

I have switched from 'chat' to the Q&A interface as it looked like you may have been experiencing difficulties.

 

Do let me know if you need any clarification on the information above. Otherwise, if I've been helpful, please do take a moment to rate my answer.

 

Best wishes.

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