If you recently lost a loved one you might need to apply for probate to sort out their estate. To do this, you will need their will, which should be easy enough to locate. This article will explain how to find a will and what to do if you are unable to find it.
You will need to find your loved one’s will in order to apply for probate and sort out their affairs after their death. When someone writes a will, they make important decisions such as who should care for their children and pets, and who should be a beneficiary of their estate, as well as specific funeral wishes and charity donations. If someone went through the trouble of writing a will, these things were likely important to them and it is important to respect their wishes as best you can.
When someone writes a will, they must name at least one executor to sort out their affairs following their death. Usually, they are advised to tell this person where the will is stored. If you are the executor but you are unsure where the will is, there are a few places you can look.
Most people store all their important documents, such as their bank statements, pension information, and will in the same place. You should first try searching the person’s house and collect any financial documents that you find, as you will need a good number of them for the probate process. The will might be stored in a filing cabinet or a safe, so these are great places to start looking.
If you are unable to find the will inside their house, you can try contacting the deceased’s solicitor or the company that they made the will with, provided you know this information. They will be able to send you a copy of the will. If you don’t know who your loved one wrote their will with, you might have some luck contacting the probate registry.
If you are still unable to find the will after taking the steps above, it is still possible for you to administer your loved one’s estate. Without a will, the grant you need to apply for is known as a grant of letters of administration.
Before you can do this, however, you need to figure out whether it’s your responsibility. When someone dies without leaving a will, or if the will can’t be found, their estate is divided up according to the rules of intestacy. This means that their next of kin – usually a spouse or civil partner – is responsible for applying for a grant of letters of administration because they are the person who stands to inherit the most from their estate.
If your loved one had no spouse or civil partner, the next in line will be their children or grandchildren, followed by parents, siblings, nieces and nephews, half-siblings, and so on. You should ensure that you are the next of kin before you attempt to apply for a grant of letters of administration.
Whether you have a will or not, Kwil offers probate services through which we can help you get your application approved quickly. If you are worried that you might make a mistake on your application or that you won’t have time to administer your loved one’s estate alongside other responsibilities, you can call us for a free quote on our grant-only or full estate administration services.