Copy Wills and Grants Online Can Now Be Ordered Quickly.
Being able to copy Wills online as well as grants has been a dramatic improvement. We had an interesting issue with an executor the other day: one of the beneficiaries of a Will managed to get a copy Will online before the executor had the Grant of Probate. He had intended to explain everything to the beneficiaries as soon as the Will had been confirmed by way of the grant, so it was a bit embarrassing for him! So it you have a contentious case, it may not always be wise to keep people in the dark!
How did this happen? It is all part of the Governments drive to digitise everything. Around 41 million wills has now been digitised for public access. One suspects that new Wills are probably digitised as soon as probate is applied for – so be careful!
In general terms. this is brilliant for both clients and professionals as access is now much easier and generally far quicker – provided the Will has been digitised of course. There will be cost savings on professionals bills, and things should be usefully quicker. Getting copy Wills online usually takes less than a week, a major improvement.
The initiative was led by the HM Courts and Tribunals Service in response to public demand for official documents to be more accessible. This was achieved in partnership with Iron Mountain, a specialist firm that provides digital data storage solutions.
Dating back to 1858, the electronic copy wills featured are those registered within England and Wales, allowing consumers and probate professionals to get valuable historical information online.
The first stage of the project involved around 260,000 wills from military persons being added to a digital database. So far, this archive alone has received over 2 million search queries to date, having only being launched in 2013.
This now means, not only can probate clients easily find out more about their ancestors, but also uncover lost inheritance and assets left to their family over the years, as well as find the grant of representation for a family member’s estate.
Amongst the data also lies the dying wishes of well-known figures, including Sir Winston Churchill, Beatrix Potter, and AA Milne.
Within his will, Charles Dickens goes into detail about how he wanted to have no monument or memorial erected in his name and says, “I rest my claims to the remembrance of my country upon my published works”. The author also allegedly left £80,000 to his chosen beneficiaries, which would equate to over £7 million today.
George Orwell is claimed to have wanted his manuscripts and any personal documentation to be preserved. Economist John Maynard Keynes, however, asked for any unpublished manuscripts and other documents to be destroyed on his death.
Getting a copy will costs £10 and will take about 10 days for the electronic copy to be received. To search for and obtain copy Wills online, click the link.