It goes without saying that making a Will and keeping it up to date is essential. If you do not have a Will, or if any of your assets are not dealt with under the terms of your Will, for example, if one of your beneficiaries has died and you have not specified who should inherit in place of that beneficiary, legal rules known as the ‘Intestacy Rules’ will dictate who will receive your assets (or those not dealt with by your Will) after you have died.
If your family or friends think that you have made a Will, but they cannot find the original, the presumption will be that the original has been destroyed (unless there is evidence to the contrary), which will result in your estate being distributed in accordance with the intestacy rules.
The best option to find out if someone has a Will is by making a search of Certainty, the National Wills Register. Certainty maintains an electronic record of Wills made by solicitors. No details of the Wills themselves are disclosed, and the Register is not open for public scrutiny, but a search made by Certainty can quickly reveal whether a Will has been made, and where it is stored.
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