Lost Will – When A Will can’t be found.
Looking for a lost Will? Probably the first port of call to ask about a lost Will is the Custody Department of the Principal Probate Registry. We have a few more tips below, and we have asked Will Custodian Ltd to contribute a page on how to find a lost Will. If it is stored with them, it won’t be lost, but their guidance is invaluable. (Back to what to do after a death.)
Who Wrote the Lost Will?
If it was a Will Writer then it is possible that the Society of Will Writers may able to help, though not all Will Writers are regulated by them. To ask them about a lost will, contact their Custody Department. But:
Most Lost Wills are written by solicitors.
Not because they are careless, but because the outnumber Will Writers by 20 to 1! You may want to ask a local law firm who is the Secretary of the Local Law Society: they will usually circulate all the local solicitors for you about your lost Will.
However, if the solicitor is no longer in business, the Solicitors Regulation Authority holds records for firms and individual solicitors.
The information that they would require from a customer would be:
- · The name of the firm of solicitors used
- · The name of the solicitor they dealt with (although this is not always necessary).
- · If searching further back than 1993, the year in which the will was made so they can search in the appropriate written records.
When a firm moves, closes or amalgamates into another, they usually hold information of who the successor firm would be, or if no successor firm is appointed, they usually hold details of the location of where files may be held.
In the event that they do not hold information of a successor firm, or if they do not hold a location of files, they would search for solicitors who were at the firm at the time of closure who may still be contactable. If they are still practicing, they would provide the customer with their current practicing details so they could speak with the individual directly.
However if the individual is not practicing, but the Solicitors Registration Authority hold a personal home address, they would offer the customer a forward on service. The SRA would forward on a letter, requesting files only, on the customers behalf using the following procedure:
1. Write a letter for the attention of the solicitor, explaining that they wish to retrieve specific files or documents from them, ensuring that they include their name and contact details on this letter, so that the solicitor can contact them directly.
2. Send the request with a covering letter or email to the SRA requesting that we forward on the letter to the private address held on our records.
For further guidance from the Solicitors Regulation Authority about a lost will, 01527 504450. They open Monday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday: 8.30am to 5pm, Tuesday: 9.30am to 5pm. Or e-mail email@example.com.