The first port of call when dealing with an estate is determining whether or not there is a will. This is an unavoidable step in estate administration and determines if it’s a case of intestacy or testacy. Intestacy is where there is no will and testacy is the opposite. From experience dealing with intestacy cases, we are of the belief everyone should write a will. It would be easy to avoid messy inheritance situations such as fighting over the estate or individual items. Everything clearly detailed in the will, with everyone getting their share according to the deceased’s wishes. However, if that was the case we wouldn’t be in business. We primarily deal with cases of intestacy, locating heirs who may or may not even know the intestate. There is no compulsory registration for wills in the UK, so there are many estates which remain unclaimed until legal beneficiaries are located.
Finding a will
When signing a case the first thing we do conduct a sweep of the property in search for a will. However, wills can be difficult to locate. Wills may not be in the property, care home or with a solicitor. This can be due to an array of reasons. Wills are often written at the end of a person’s life, but sometimes they can be written when he or she is still relatively young. Often due to a significant life event like marriage or children. This can mean a great span of time can pass between will formation and death. House moves, misplacing, accidently discarding are all common reasons for losing a will. If you relocate to another part of the country, or even a different country, a will may also be very difficult to locate with a solicitor. This is because most people often use a local solicitor, so moving away can cause confusion when finding a will.
If a will is invalid
Wills can be a very confusing aspect of probate. Therefore, it is often best to use a professional probate genealogy company. Not only is there the factor of finding a will but also determining whether a will is valid. There are several reasons why a will may be invalid. Wills can be invalid if the testator and two witnesses do not sign them correctly. Moreover, at the time of the will formation, the testator must be of sound mind and mental capacity. We have encountered instances where a testator has been manipulated to writing a will due to their mental capacity.
Searching for a will
When it comes to a finding a will, we recommend starting by searching yourself. Wills are often stored in safe spaces like filing cabinets, safes, offices and so on. However, over time they can be relegated to anywhere around the house. Under the bed, in the loft, a box in the shed and other places a will may have been forgotten about. Of course, that is if there is a will at all. Ask the deceased’s friends, relatives, or neighbours whether they know of any will. Following this. It’s time to contact a professional probate genealogy firm like Blanchards Ltd for assistance.
Using a professional
Blanchards begin with carrying out local searches. We Look high and low in a property during our stage one property clearance where the focus is on finding a will. In the small occurrence that a will is missed here, our stage 2 full property clearance will no doubt find any wills in the property. During this stage we also contact any local solicitors and enquire with friends and family to whether there is a will. We also endeavour to carry out searches across other towns and counties the deceased may have lived. We have encountered numerous cases where a will has come out of the wood works. If there is a will, we will find it.