Lost Will procedure
Lost Will procedure

The following Wills & Probate guidance note provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • Lost Will procedure
  • The Will cannot be found
  • The application for the order
  • The affidavit
  • Lost Will
  • Reconstruction
  • Original Will held by foreign court or notary
  • Original Will held abroad other than by a foreign court or notary
  • Original Will held in the UK
  • Known Will but no copy Will
  • more

The Will cannot be found

Where the Will cannot be found among the deceased's paperwork but is believed to exist:

  1. make enquiries of the deceased's family and friends

  2. make enquiries with the deceased's professional advisors

  3. make enquiries of the deceased's bankers

  4. consider a search of the safe custody Wills register to see if it was deposited there

  5. consider placing an advert for the Will in the Law Society Gazette

The application for the order

If the original Will or codicil still cannot be found and is therefore lost or has been accidentally destroyed, probate of a draft, copy or reconstruction of the Will or codicil may be obtained provided an order for leave to prove it is first obtained.

The procedure for the order is set out in rule 54 of the Non-Contentious Probate Rules 1987 (NCPR 1987). The same procedure is used where probate of an oral Will is sought. The application for an order for leave to prove is made without notice to the registry at which the subsequent application for the grant will be made.

The application is made by lodging an affidavit. The affidavit must set out the grounds of the application and any available evidence as the applicant can adduce as to:

  1. the Will's existence after the death of the testator or where there

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