Where to begin searching for a Will

If you have a Will in place it is a good idea to let the person who you have chosen to take control of your assets and wishes upon your death (the Executor) know where the original Will is held.

Where should you look first?

If the Will was prepared by a lawyer, it is common practice for the willmaker’s lawyer to hold the original Will in safe custody at the law firm. Alternatively, the willmaker may hold the original Will at home in a safe or with their papers or at safe deposit box at their bank.

What if this information was never shared, or you do not know whether a Will exists?

When looking for a Will, the Supreme Court of NSW requires that you undertake at least the following searches:

  1. Amongst the person’s personal papers at their last known residence;
  2. All known banking & financial institutions used by them for any documents held in a safe deposit box;
  3. All law firms used by the person or, if unknown, some in their local area. If unknown, it is usually good practice to reach out to at least 5 law firms;
  4. The New South Wales Trustee & Guardian; and
  5. The Supreme Court of NSW Will deposit registry.

It is important to keep a record of all places searched, the results and any copies of correspondence received during your searches.

If no Will is found, the person applying to the Court to look after the deceased person’s estate will need to swear an Affidavit (a sworn statement) that they have undertaken all the necessary searches listed above.

If you have any questions or should you need any assistance please do not hesitate to contact us at Southern Waters Legal.

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