Probate Advice Line
An estate with a missing Will
David Harrison had made several Wills during his latter years. Kings Court Trust was about to begin administering his estate according to the terms of what was believed to be his last Will. However, there was some doubt raised by a family member that this Will was, in fact, the last one David made. Although there was no solid evidence of any later Will (which, if valid, would take precedence over any earlier Will), the family's doubts were enough to make us take action. Was this an estate with a missing Will?
How we solved it
Our Case Manager conducted our best practice "will search" process which included an approach to other Will writers and solicitors local to where David lived who might be holding a later Will, searching national Will registers and advertising in newspapers local to David's last address. Although we did find another Will, it was dated earlier than the one we were holding so of course it wasn't David's last Will. This meant we were able to proceed on the basis of the Will we had. To be on the safe side and to protect the Executors, we bought an insurance policy against the consequences any later Will appearing.
Why it mattered
As it's essential to deal with a person’s estate the way they wish, it is crucial to have their last Will. If the estate is distributed to the beneficiaries under one Will and then a later Will comes to light, the Executors could be held personally liable to the beneficiaries under the later Will. A missing Will is a major problem.