How To Obtain a Copy of A will

Probate Helpline 0844 756 3882

Obtaining a copy of a will, can be important for lots of reasons, you may want to know whether you are a beneficiary in a will or you may want to contest a will. If so, how do you obtain a copy of a will ?

There are two ways to obtain a copy of a will. Firstly, simply ask the executor if you know who this is or secondly apply online for a copy (see below)

When applying for a grant of probate, the original will must be lodged with the probate registry. Once the grant is issued, the will and the grant of probate then become public documents which can be obtained from the probate registry.

The government recently issued a new online system for searching for wills, this allows wills to be obtained very easily online. You can find the governments online site by clicking here.

Has Probate Been Issued ?

It is important to appreciate that only those cases in which a grant of probate has been issued, will a will become available from the probate registry, thus if someone has only recently died it maybe several months for the application for probate is applied for. If the executor refuses to send you a copy of a will, then issuing a caveat preventing probate is often very useful.

To see whether a grant of probate has been issued, you can apply for what is known as a Standing search at the probate registry. By paying a fee the Probate Registry will search their archives and see whether a grant has been issued, if so they will then send you a copy of the grant of probate together with the will. The information required by the probate registry will be:-

  • Full names of the deceased (forenames & surname) including any names by which the deceased was known and the name in which the death was registered.
  • Last permanent address
  • Date of birth
  • Date of death or a range of dates if the exact date is not known to you , you must also give your name and address

You must provide the full and correct details for the deceased. The search is made by checking the details you have provided against the probate registry records. If you give incorrect details your search is unlikely to be successful. If you do not want to contact the probate registry there are companies online that undertake searches such as Copy of a will

The Executor will not provide a copy of the will ?

We regularly assist clients where a copy of a will, will not be voluntarily disclosed by an executor for a particular reason. If this is the case please call our probate helpline on 0844 756 3882, and we can assist you in obtaining a copy of a will.

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