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How to view a will?

Community Veteran
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Registered: 08-10-2010

How to view a will?

My father died fifteen years ago and up until now I haven't bothered or worried about the will. I have two brothers and a sister (mother died before my father). One of my brothers went to Germany and married a Russian lass, but no one knows where he is now (suggestions on how to track him would shall be appreciated), the other brother and sister I haven't seen for over 25 years.
I know my father had a will and I'm somewhat curious as to what was in it. I don't know his solicitors or executors. My father had my address and phone number in his phone book and in his bureau - he was a well organised man.
Does anyone have any idea where I can access a copy of the will please?
15 REPLIES
RJM
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Re: How to view a will?

Unfortunately, it may not be possible.

Here is an article from the The Law  Society Gazette from 2013:

 

 

https://www.lawgazette.co.uk/comment-and-opinion/my-search-for-a-missing-will/5037945.article

 

beeceegee
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Re: How to view a will?

Assuming Probate or Representation was actually obtained (ie the Will is not just lying in a desk drawer somewhere) you could start here:

https://www.gov.uk/wills-probate-inheritance/searching-for-probate-records

 

Community Veteran
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Re: How to view a will?

Thanks guys, will have a look now. Cheers.
Champnet
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Re: How to view a will?

@beeceegee   That's useful. Now where do I look to see if someone I don't remember has left me a fortune. ?

I have moved around the Country a bit..............

Community Veteran
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Re: How to view a will?

Most people who make a will, will get a copy of it.

On the death of your father was the house sold or who dealt with your fathers things, if it's a relative you are unable to contact then it may be fair to assume if a copy of the will existed they would have seen it.

Much depends on what your father left in his estate and who was the executor of the will, whilst I accept you may not know who this was you may have some idea of who this might be, using a solicitor or bank is expensive so could he have asked someone close to your family ?

Above a certain sum of money I think probate comes into it so some record of that might exist.

When my mother died many years ago she made a will, I was her only son and as it did not go to probate I simply dealt with things and never even bothered contacting her solicitor so no idea what was in the will and no idea who the executor was but as nobody has contacted me since then I suspect the will is still in some solicitors office, although I suspect neither solicitor or even his office is still there.

beeceegee
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Re: How to view a will?


gleneagles wrote:

Above a certain sum of money I think probate comes into it so some record of that might exist.

 


Also if there are property or investments to sell probate would be needed to give the Executors / Administrators the required legal powers to dispose of them

Once Probate or Representation is granted they become public documents along with the Will, and should be obtainable through the link I gave above.

If, however, the Will was never proved and is languishing in a solicitor's vault somewhere, even if that Solicitor is no longer around, there is a procedure (Solicitors Regulation Authority?) to ensure that safekeeping is maintained with another firm. Obviously you would need a starting point (and probably a lot of patience) but in theory it could be tracked down. I had such a situation getting hold of the original of my mother's Will.

Luzern
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Re: How to view a will?


rogadodge wrote:
My father died fifteen years ago and up until now I haven't bothered or worried about the will. I have two brothers and a sister (mother died before my father). One of my brothers went to Germany and married a Russian lass, but no one knows where he is now (suggestions on how to track him would shall be appreciated), the other brother and sister I haven't seen for over 25 years.
I know my father had a will and I'm somewhat curious as to what was in it. I don't know his solicitors or executors. My father had my address and phone number in his phone book and in his bureau - he was a well organised man.
Does anyone have any idea where I can access a copy of the will please?

@ rogadodge Please do not be offended by these comments.Smiley

I know you consider your father was well organised, but from my reading of the OP your family elements lost contact a time ago. In the period since you were in any contact with your father, his situation may have changed financially or welfare-wise. The alleged will could have been lost, mislaid, destroyed, or revoked. 

In the event that no valid will surfaced, or none of the executors was available or wished to act, then administrators would be sought.

The possibility could exist that no one would act, then the estate would pass in to the hands of the Treasury Solicitor to administer. The realised value would be lodged as Bona Vacantia in its accounts.

Businesses exist that seek out those unclaimed estates to find heirs for a proportion of the more valuable of the estates. They were featured by the BBC.

Bona Vacantia may be another place to look.

 

No one has to agree with my opinion, but in the time I have left a miracle would be nice.
Community Veteran
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Re: How to view a will?

Thanks all.
Luzerne, I appreciate your comment and, you're correct. My family is somewhat disparate. My father was a well organised but extremely domineering man. Not an easy person to like, at all.
I am only really interested as my curiosity was piqued after talking to a friend about wills. I have always said I would not take money off him, and if I received any money now or in the future from him I would give it straight to the children with cancer charity (which I support as much as I can).
I believe the estate would have been worth somewhere in excess of £150k, consisting of a freehold house (mortgage free) and life insurance of £50k plus pension etc.

I'm just home from work so hitting the keyboard now.
Jonpe
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Re: How to view a will?

Re. your brother in Germany:  Have you tried putting his name through Google; that usually brings up entries in phone books and other directories?  Even if it's in a foreign language the name will be the same, and you can usually easily work out what is the address if one is listed.

Luzern
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Re: How to view a will?

People are very funny about money. For a good part of my life I worked in the Securities Department in London for one of the Banks. In a slack period I was tasked with research into long held items, where the owner had gone away and was untraceable.

The value in many cases was substantial. Chatting with my boss, I queried why no one had come forward. Reply was that the heirs maybe disliked him so much, that they would tarnish themselves by taking the money. I've seen that attitude taken by a friend, who was a socialist opposed to building society demutualisation.  He closed his account rather than accept the shares.

He thought me immoral suggesting I'd take the shares and sell them.

Money does not bear a taint. It's how one uses it, that yields its perfume or stink.

No one has to agree with my opinion, but in the time I have left a miracle would be nice.
Luzern
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Re: How to view a will?


Jonpe wrote:

Re. your brother in Germany:  Have you tried putting his name through Google; that usually brings up entries in phone books and other directories?  Even if it's in a foreign language the name will be the same, and you can usually easily work out what is the address if one is listed.


Accessing an online  German telephone directory is another avenue: the important words are: Wo=Where and Wer= Who. Grin

No one has to agree with my opinion, but in the time I have left a miracle would be nice.
wisty
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Re: How to view a will?

If there was a house sale, you might be able to trace the transaction at the Land Registry and find out who sold it. There must (I think) also have been a grant of probate to give whoever sold it the legal right to do so

I would start with looking up the house on one of the house price sites and see when it was last sold. If it was last sold at about the time your father died, then you could simply write to the current owners and ask who they bought it off - or who was the solicitor acting for the vendors.

If it has been sold more recently, then you may be able to trace the chain of buyers back either directly or via the land registry. They charge for the information (£3 ish) but you can do the searches online.

 

 

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Re: How to view a will?


wisty wrote:

If it was last sold at about the time your father died, then you could simply write to the current owners and ask who they bought it off - or who was the solicitor acting for the vendors.

 


i doubt anyone would supply that information though to someone (who is a stranger) just asking for it.

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Re: How to view a will?

You may not get the info from the current occupier but you might be able to get it here:

http://landregistry.data.gov.uk/app/ppd/