When you draft a will, your Wills lawyer will offer to store it for you on your behalf. Storing Wills is common, but when the maker fails to update their Will, decides to move for an extended period, or keeps the Will with them only to die later (with no one knowing where the Will is), Wills can become effectively ‘lost.’
While your wills lawyer will do their very best to ensure this does not happen, it is common for clients to lose touch with the wills lawyers that initially assisted them in drafting their Wills. When clients fall out of touch and eventually pass away, their surviving relatives may find themselves in a position of distributing the Estate without a Will to guide them.
If you’ve lost a will, it’s essential to find out what options are open to you so that the best way forward can be decided without delay. In this article, we will be looking at what one should do when one loses a will.
Ten Things We Look For When Reviewing The Documents: A Wills Lawyers Guide.
Listed below are the ten steps one must take when reviewing documents.
- Ask Any Family Or Friends Of The Deceased If They Know About It.
If you have lost your will and don’t know where it is, one last thing might help you find it: ask anyone who knew the deceased.
After all, if a person has died, they or can no longer ask for their will. This means that anyone who has been around the deceased may have seen or heard about it.
You should start by speaking with close family members and friends of theirs, as they’re most likely going to know where their loved ones kept their important documents like this one (and also because what if none of these people were close friends at all? It’s okay if they weren’t).
- Ask if they ever saw or heard about any documents about property ownership or inheritance rights when visiting your home during the final years before death.* If so, ask them what form those documents took: handwritten notes? Legal documents? A computer file?
- Check Bank Accounts And Safety Deposit Boxes
Suppose you know the bank details; it’s easy to check online. Ask a family member or friend to help if you don’t know them. You can also check in your safety deposit box (if applicable).
- Contact The Solicitor Who Prepared The Will
The solicitor may have a copy of the will and be able to tell you where it is stored. They may also know who held the last copy or if it has been lost or destroyed.
- Check With The Local Council To See If They Have A Record
If you’re in this situation, we recommend checking with the local council to see if they have a record of your will. This is a good idea because they may have a copy of it on file or be able to direct you to where the original is stored.
Search For Any Handwritten Notes Left By The Deceased Person
The deceased person may leave notes they were working on at home, at the office, or even in their car. A will doesn’t have to be a lengthy document; it can be written in many different ways. If you think something might be handwritten by your loved one, we recommend you check all their items – including their wallet, purse, and briefcase. We also recommend searching through any desk drawers, kitchen drawers, or other random places where they may have hidden something vital to them (such as inside the lining of an old jacket).
Check Online For Any Documents Kept By Third Parties, For Example, Companies That Provide Will Storage Services.
What do you do if you’ve lost a will? The first thing you can do is check online for any documents kept by third parties. For example, many companies that provide will storage services keep copies of their customers’ wills on file.
If there is a will, you may need to contact the company with whom it was stored so that they can release it.
Look Through Old Email Inboxes And Other Electronic Records
As you go through your deceased loved one’s documents, you may come across some that look like they have been sent to or received from an email address.
If so, go through all the email accounts that your loved one used and check for emails there. If you find any emails in a draft folder, in the trash folder, or a junk/spam folder, please bring them to our attention.
Take Advice From An Experienced Wills Lawyer And Probate Solicitor
If you’re looking for a professional Wills Lawyer who can help with your will, then we’re here to help. We are a team of experienced Will’s lawyers and Probate solicitors who have been in the business for over 20 years.
We know what questions to ask when reviewing documents.
We look at every detail possible when reviewing them. We need to ensure they are valid and will work when used.
Search In Various Places That Are Likely To Contain Important Documents
You should check all the places that might contain important documents. These include:
- Under the mattress
- In the attic
- In the garage (check under those piles of junk)
- In a shed or outbuilding on your property, if you have one.
- In your car, far away from where it is parked (you never know when someone will steal it)
- If you have a filing cabinet or other storage unit, look there too!
Having a well stored somewhere safe can save a lot of trouble having to rewrite one.
This article has been helpful if you’ve lost a will and need to write a will. If you don’t have a choice stored somewhere safe, we recommend getting one written ASAP. This can save a lot of trouble if it gets lost or destroyed in the future!
If you’re unsure what steps to take next or how we can help with your estate planning needs.
With many people dying without a will, the WIlls lawyer must be clear on how this situation can be dealt with.