Lost Wills

Wills are personal, confidential documents and often written many years before the writer dies. Inevitably this means that, at the time of death, a Will can be difficult to find.

In some cases, it simply can’t be traced. This will influence how Probate is granted and, more importantly, how the Estate is divided up.

Probate with and without a Will

Often, people do leave their Will with the legal firm that helped them draw it up. Occasionally, it has been registered with Certainty, the National Will Register recommended by the Law Society. Sometimes, the original copy of a Will was kept at home.

If a Will cannot be found, it is presumed to have been destroyed. However, it is sometimes possible to prove that the Will was not revoked, by presenting other forms of evidence to suggest the contrary.

1. With a Will

As the Executor, you are required to submit an original Will to be proved when you make an application for Probate to the Probate Registry.

When you receive a Grant of Probate, you have the legal go-ahead to distribute the Estate according to the Will (and Letter of Wishes, if there is one).

2. Without a Will (intestacy)

A friend or relative can apply for a Grant of Probate if there is no Will – known as intestacy. When Probate has been granted, they will distribute the Estate according to the Inheritance and Trustees’ Power Act 2014.

These rules set out who inherits an Estate according to their familial connection to the deceased. Sadly, they do not consider the strength of emotional ties or who is most in need of an inheritance.

If there are no surviving relatives, the Estate will pass automatically to the Crown and HM Treasury becomes responsible for administering the Estate.

How to challenge Executors or Trustees

You might want to make a claim on an Estate because a loved one verbally promised you a treasured keepsake, for example, or because intestacy threatens your financial stability. Your first step is to consult a solicitor to advise you about making a claim against an Estate where there was no Will.

Napthens is among only a few firms in the North West with specialist expertise handling disputes over the execution of a Will by Executors or Trustees. Our expertise has been recognised by the Association of Contentious Trust and Probate Specialists.

We take a supportive and sensitive approach when assisting you with inheritance and Will disputes. This is aligned with a strong technical ability, and the clarity you need to decide the best course of action at this difficult time.

Why choose Napthens?

  • Cases handled with sensitivity and professionalism
  • Advice tailored to your wishes and personal situation
  • Specialists in inheritance and Will disputes