Can’t find the original will?
When making an application for probate, the original will must be produced to the probate registry. Often tracking down the original will is not easy, as there is no central register of wills, while problems can be caused by the Solicitors who made the will closing or merging.
If you know that the will hasn’t been revoked it is always best to contact the SRA ( Solicitors Regulation Authority ) who regulate solicitors they should be able to provide confirmation as to who is the successor in title of the firm that made the will. The SRA can be contacted by clicking here. Other places to try are Will Certainty or the Central probate Registry in London that do have storage facilities for wills.
If you need help tracking down a will we can help. We know how the system works, who to contact and have successfully helped many families track down wills for probate.
Can a Copy of a Will be Used for probate ?
In very exceptional circumstances the copy of the will can be used to apply for probate however this can be a very complicated procedure, as the normal probate process will not apply. Instead, a very detailed affidavit ( a sworn legal statement ) must be made by the Executor applying for probate. This statement must clarify in very precise details the circumstances relating to the loss of the original, what attempts have been made to trace it together with details of those persons prejudiced by the application, in other words who would inherit if the copy will was NOT admitted. eg. those under intestacy or an earlier will.
Clearly if the copy will is substantially different to the Intestacy rules ( in other words what happens when there is no will ) this can lead to substantial conflicts among family members, who are unlikely to agree to the copy will being admitted to probate.
Our experience of copy will cases
We have acted in numerous copy will cases, and have considerable experience of how to present the case to probate registry, while if the copy will is refused either by the Court or other family members we can explain the legal process and steps required in issuing proceedings which given the time and costs must always be regarded as a last resort.
Call our ‘problem with will’ helpline on 0845 568 4000 or make a free online enquiry.