Missing Wills

Looking for the Will
When someone dies, one of the very first things that an executor has to do is to find the Will. With luck, the person making the Will told you where they kept it, or has stored it in an obvious place with other valuables. However if you simply cannot find the will then you might make the following enquiries:

  • The solicitor
    If a solicitor actually drafted the original Will, the original, or at least  a copy, is likely to be held in solicitor’s strongroom or other safe storage.
  • The bank
    Sometimes people leave their Will at their bank, although unlike solicitors, banks usually make an annual storage charge.
  • The Principal Registry
    Sometimes Wills are deposited at the Safe Custody Department of the Principal Registry. You can write by post directly to the York Probate Sub-Registry asking for a copy of any Will, providing the first name or names, the  surname, date of death and last known address of the deceased, along with the fee of £5 by crossed cheque or postal order made payable to Her Majesty’s Court Service. The Probate Sub-Registry will forward any requests to whichever probate registry has kept the Will and grant of probate, which will send copies directly to you. For deaths in England and Wales, write to:
 The York Probate Sub-Registry
, 1st Floor, 
Castle Chambers, 
Clifford Street, 
York YO1 9RG (

Tel: 01904 666777)

Still can’t find the Will?

Don’t panic. Fortunately a photocopy of any signed and witnessed Will is acceptable as proof of that Will in England and Wales – although be aware that sometimes the Probate Registry will require evidence that the original wasn’t destroyed intentionally to revoke the Will, for example, if the Will was burnt in a house fire, the Registry may require evidence of that fire.

Problems with a missing will? Contact us first
Wherever you live in England and Wales, if you’re thinking about making an inheritance claim or contesting a will, our specialist team can help.

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