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Do you have to register a Will in the uk

Reasons to choose Wilson Browne

What is a Will?

A Will is a legal document in which you give instructions on how you want your assets (money, property and possessions) to be distributed following your death.

More than nine million people in the UK currently have their Wills registered with the National Will Register, the country’s Will registration and search service.

Registration is voluntary, but it is recommended that you do so to help ensure that, following your death, your estate is dissolved in the way you set out in your Will.

It is quick and easy to register – if you prefer, the solicitor who drew up your Will can do it on your behalf.

What are the benefits of registering my Will in the UK?

While there is no legal requirement to register your Will in the UK, there are a number of good reasons for doing so.

Enables the executor to find your Will

The executor (the individual responsible for implementing the instructions set out in your Will) may be unaware of the document’s location. If they are unable to locate it, your estate will be dissolved according to the law of intestacy, which may not distribute your assets in the way you would have wanted.

Sadly, more than two thirds of people who die in the UK do so without making a Will. Having made the effort to draw up a Will, it makes sense to register the document to help ensure that your final wishes are known.

Prevents incorrect distribution of your assets

Should the latest copy of your Will not be found after your death, your estate could be distributed according to a previous Will.

Should the new Will subsequently come to light, your executor could be held personally liable for the error, while the whole process is likely to be extremely stressful for your loved ones at a time when they are already grieving for you.

Helps combat fraud

In some cases, an individual may deliberately conceal the existence of a Will because it is in their interests for your estate to be dissolved according to the terms of a previous Will or for the UK law of intestacy to be applied.

Registering your Will makes it easier for the executor to locate it, and so ensure that your assets are distributed according to your final wishes.

How do you register a Will in the UK?

It’s quick and easy to register your Will – more details are available here.

You or your solicitor provide a few brief details, including your name and the location of the Will.

The charge is just £30, which is a small amount considering the potential emotional and financial consequences of the executor not being able to find your Will.

After completing the process, you will be issued a certificate as proof of registration.


Check out our detailed guide on wills registration in the UK

Will people be able to see my Will if I register it in the UK?

The National Will Register can be an invaluable aid to an executor trying to find a Will in the UK. Searching is a straightforward process – you can find out more here.

The website will not reveal the location of the Will to you, but it will alert the solicitor who is storing it that you are looking for it. They can then get in touch and, once you have provided the necessary documentation, release the Will to you.

Whatever the outcome of the search, you will be provided with an official report as evidence that you used the service as part of your duties as executor.

What other steps can I take to ensure that my will is found after my death?

While registering your Will can provide an effective way of enabling your executor to locate the document, it is always preferable for there to be no need for a search at all.

Wilson Browne offers a free Will storage service to clients whose Will we have drafted. This provides the peace of mind of knowing that the document is being kept safe and is not at risk of being mislaid or stolen for fraudulent purposes.

We strongly recommend that you inform your executor that we have the Will to avoid any problems in locating it.

Should you wish Wilson Browne to act as your executor (which we would be very happy to do), we advise that you inform your friends and family so that they can ask us to begin the probate process following your death.

An additional benefit of being a client of Wilson Browne is that we offer free Will health checks at periodic intervals to help you assess if the document needs amending in the light of any changes to your financial or family circumstances.

Where can I find out more about registering a Will in the UK?

At Wilson Browne, we appreciate that many people find Wills a difficult and emotional topic to discuss. We have considerable experience working with clients in a sensitive manner to provide expert advice and guidance.

As part of our service we will be happy to register your will on your behalf and store it safely.

We pride ourselves on getting to know our clients and building long-term relationships with them to ensure that their wishes regarding their estate are carried out.

With offices in Corby, Higham Ferrers & Rushden, Kettering, Leicester, Northampton and Wellingborough, we can offer a face-to-face meeting in your area and also make home visits to clients with mobility issues.

To find out more about how we can offer peace of mind to you and your family, please call us on 0800 088 6004 or complete our online contact form.

Molly Smith


Molly Smith


Molly is a Paralegal in the Private Client team at our Wellingborough office.