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What if you can’t find someone’s Will? Is there a national database I can search?

We always tell our clients that the legally binding version of their Will (the original signed copy) should be kept with us, which is safely and securely stored in our archives. We then give our client a copy of their Will, to be stored in a special folder that has instructions on what to do in the event of their death, in their home, where their family or executor will easily find it after their death.

It’s important for those writing their Will to understand that when your death is registered. Because we, your solicitors, are not automatically notified, your family or executor won’t be automatically notified that you have written a Will. So it is extremely important that you let them know one exists and where to find it in your home or tell them to contact us directly.

But we’ve taken it one step further for our clients, to ensure that very important document doesn’t get missed or lost after their death.

In 2008, The National Will Register, a database that hold a record of Wills that have been written, now holds over 9.4million records that can be cross referenced with people as they pass away to see if they have ever had a Will written.

During May 2022, The National Will Register celebrated a “Free Will Registration Month” urging will-writers, solicitors and law firms as well as private individuals to register their Wills on the National Will Register to protect testators wishes and provide certainty that the valid and most recent Will can be found when it is needed.

As a result, Hopkins Solicitors is one of the firms who registered their entire Wills archive with The National Will Register. Hopkins Solicitors shared their firm’s thoughts behind the importance of having their Wills registered:

As legal professionals our job is to help clients ensure that they have legally documented all of their personal wishes, whether those are related to financial assets or quite often wishes that may hold no financial value but hold enormous emotional value.”

Our clients spend a lot of time thinking about everything from what song will be played at their funeral, if they will be cremated and where their ashes are to be spread, who will care for their children or pets, who will receive which heirlooms and who will be the Executors and manage their estate.”

“Although our clients are given a copy of their Will, in a clearly marked folder to store at home, that doesn’t guarantee that many years later a friend or family member will find it after they pass on. If they don’t find it, they won’t know to come to us to ask for the original and officially signed Will, meaning none of those wishes are going to actually be carried out.

It’s critical in this electronic day and age that Wills are registered in a central database, so that when someone dies the family can easily search to see if a Will has been registered in their name, and if it has, which law firm is storing the original.

 

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