Lost will

If a will cannot be found then it is likely that your estate will be considered intestate.  This means the rules of intestacy will be followed and your estate could end up with distant family or even in the hands of the Crown Estate.

This can apply whether a will is lost or destroyed.  It is possible to make a claim to the Courts under s54 of the Non-Contentions Probate Rules 1987 in very limited circumstances.  These are:

  • Where you have a photocopy of the will; or
  • Where you have very strong evidence of what was in the will (e.g. the solicitor’s notes).

Even in these circumstances the Courts will presume that you destroyed the will with an intention to revoke it. Your executors and beneficiaries may be able to provide evidence that you did, in fact, lose the will. For example – provide evidence that the person making the will had a habit of losing or accidentally throwing things away.  They’ll need to show what’s been done to find the will.  You’ll also need to show strong evidence why the deceased couldn’t or wouldn’t have revoked the will.

It will be much easier to find the original will and apply for probate the usual way though.  Try everything you can this can include:

  • Contacting Certainty: the National Will Register,
  • Looking through all the paperwork available;
  • Search under floorboards, behind chests of draws, the attic, down the back of sofas;

Ensure you keep a record of everything you do.  It’s much better if you find the original will, but you might end up making an application to Court after all.