Due diligence in will searching

question markIn 1966, a will was written by a man whose grandson would go on to become the Guinness World Record holder for memory – David Thomas, aka 'The Memory Man'.

David recited pi (3.14159…) to 22,500 digits from memory and, without error, memorised 160 digits in five minutes, as well as reciting 100 individually shuffled packs of playing cards. He is said to have one of the most powerful memories in history.

When David’s grandfather died, however, nobody could remember if he had made a will or not. David carried out a Certainty will search, and a will was found at a solicitor’s office, where it had been for 52 years.

An executor may present themselves at a law firm to distribute the will they hold, believing it's the last will; many solicitors will believe that too, on face-value. In most cases, each law firm believes that they hold the last will.

But it's not unusual for the testator to make more than one will within their lifetime, and it’s not unusual for a will search to find multiple wills for the same testator at different law firms, sometimes dating back decades. 

Emma-Louise Green, an associate at Meridian Private Client LLP, explains why they use a will search:

“It can potentially reduce the possibility of a dispute taking place through a will coming to light during or after estate distribution. Searches are called for in many legal activities to provide a safeguard or to try to discover unknown information.”

For more information, see www.nationalwillregister.co.uk.