How to find a Will in the UK?

How to find a Will in the UK?

Before Probate is granted

In general, a Will is a private document until a Grant of Probate is issued. While the testator is still alive, nobody other than the testator is entitled to receive a copy of the Will.

Following the testator’s death, unless and until Probate is granted, the Will remains a private document although the Executors named in the Will are entitled to see it. 

How to find a Will:

  • Search the house;
  • Ask their Solicitor;
  • Ask their Bank;
  • Carry out a Will search

There are companies that can carry out searches to locate missing Wills. These companies will search through Wills that are stored by solicitors and Will Writers all over the country , as well as carrying out more specific searches near to the deceased's home. They may also carry out a search of the National Wills Register although it is currently not mandatory to register your Will on a database so this search is not conclusive. These companies will charge a fee for their service.

After Probate is granted

Once a Grant of Probate has been issued, a Will becomes a public document and anyone can apply to have a copy. Search Probate records for documents and Wills (England and Wales) – GOV.UK ( provides information about searching for Probate records, either online or by post.

If there is no Grant of Probate

In some cases, it is not necessary to apply for a grant – for example if the estate is very small. In these circumstances, the personal representatives may choose to send a copy of the Will to the main beneficiaries.

If the deceased didn't leave a Will, or if the Will cannot be located, then the estate will be distributed in line with inheritance laws called the Rules of Intestacy. These rules are strict and may not align with the deceased's wishes. This is why it's so important to establish whether there is a Will, and to successfully locate it if so.

For further information on Ward Williams Services and/or advice on Probate or Wills please contact Dipesh Parmar on 01932 830664 or


About the author

Dipesh joined Ward Williams in 2017 as part of an acquisition by the firm.  He started his career in taxation in 2001 as a trainee and is ATT qualified, a qualified Probate Practitioner and a qualified member of the Society of Will Writers. 

Dipesh has experience and has been involved with all aspects of taxation dealing with a wide range of clients including taxation of limited companies.   The experience gained to date has allowed Dipesh to fully understand the needs of the client and the outcomes they are looking to achieve.  He has the ability to work and communicate effectively with people on all levels within an organisation and to communicate effectively with the firm’s external clients and appropriate bodies.