Will registration on the increase

In 2015, law firms registered a record 270,000 wills with Certainty, the National Will Register. This brings the total to 6.3 million will register records currently on the register.

Lauretta Defeo, head of Certainty member services, commented: “The register, and its continued growth, means that even more wills are being found each and every day which without the register would not have been found, or may have been found after distribution, leading to all types of issues.

“Unfortunately, these issues continue to arise where a law firm is distributing the estate to beneficiaries who are not included in the latest will, and a Certainty will search is made that finds a later will altering the distribution.” 

You can also search for wills that have not been registered using a Certainty REACH will search. This geographically targets law firms and will writers in the areas in which the will may have been written. This search is not issued just to national will register members, but also non-member law firms in the searcher’s selected geographical area. Plans have also been set out to include storage facilities as part of a REACH search.

In most 'will find' cases, the law firm was unaware that the testator had died until the will search notified them. Typically, the executor or beneficiary believed or knew that a will existed, but did not know where it was located, or someone suspected foul play, so instigated a search.

The official solicitor in the Court of Protection now advises and uses Certainty will search in statutory wills cases. 

Find out more: Certainty, the National Will Register