Places to check for missing wills

When someone dies and they do not have a will that person’s next of kin can apply to be an administrator of their estate—the same legal process as applying for probate.

But as that person’s next of kin, you might have heard your relative talk about their will in the past and suspect that he or she did have a will. Where are the best places to find a missing will?

Look for a safety deposit box.

A document as valuable as a will is likely to have been placed in a ‘safe’ place, so check the safe in the house, or any safety deposit boxes held in that person’s name at their bank. Check other banks in the area too. The bank will probably need a copy of the death certificate and they may have other requirements.

Search anywhere and everywhere

Hopefully, you will be familiar with the person’s routine, so you will have an idea where they kept important paperwork. Check home offices and file folders to find a missing will. Depending on the person, this might mean searching through a lot of boxes and files, though you might be lucky and turn up a box conveniently labelled, My Will.

Check for other things

To find a missing will, you can extend your search to include documents such as a solicitor’s or professional will writing services letters that might refer to the person’s will. A person’s accountant might know the legal firm the person used to write his or her will, so it’s worth asking for help. Friends and neighbours might be able to tell you where a missing will might be too.

Check with the Law Society and the Society of Will Writers

You could contact the local branch of the Law Society and the Society of Will Writers and ask them to email their members to ask if they are aware of anyone who might have drawn up a will on behalf of the deceased. You will need to provide the person’s full name, addresses and any other names they were known by.

Consider a professional service and/or insurance

If you have conducted a thorough search to find a missing will, you can employ Finders International’s missing will service. You might also consider insurance. An AVIVA insurance policy covers against the possibility of a will (or a more recent one) turning up after the estate has been distributed.