Application to Have Solicitor Certified Copy of Signed Will Proven

Widow deceased; family cannot find original Will (written 2011) which was in her care. She died 2 years ago but no probate has been taken, and assorted parties have been through the house, mainly to argue!

Provisions are the same as if intestate however the Will superseded a Will written some years before with differing provisions. The sibling group is large and divided, and two want the older Will to prevail as it favours them; We don’t have and don’t know the location of the earlier Will (2003, written before her husband passed) but have an uncertified copy. We do have Grant she took in his estate.

We hold a solicitor certified copy of the later (2011) Will.

What is the process to prove the certified copy given the presumption of revocation or destruction that exists?

John Cartlidge
Campion Solicitors

Surely the 2011 Will revoked the 2003 Will and revocation of the 2011 Will (by presumption) does not republish the 2003 Will but would result in an intestacy. Or am I missing something?
Caroline Brooks-Johnson
Inheritance Law

The deceased had children and step children, and there is feuding; the later Will provisions are as per intestacy, however the earlier Will includes specific legacies and provision for step-children.

If the later Will is not applied, it was my belief the earlier Will (if the original can be found; it is believed to be with one of the step children) could be proven.

John Cartlidge
Campion Solicitors

Take a look at the similar query I posed on the forum on June 15th 2016 as to whether it would be appropriate to apply for probate of a copy Will. In my situation the original will was accidently thrown away by the executor after the death of testator lost and so it was easy to rebut the presumption of revocation. In the situation you describe I don’t think there is sufficient evidence to overturn that presumption and I am inclined to agree with Caroline that the later Will even though missing would have revoked the earlier and surely it cannot be resurrected?

sharon edelstyn
Phoenix Legal Group

The 2011 will is evidence that the 2003 will has been revoked. The fact that the original 2011 will cannot be located does not revive the earlier will.

As regards the 2011 will, who had it last?

If the evidence is that it was in the possession of the testatrix, there is a presumption of revocation. However, that presumption is negated if, whilst the will was in her possession, she lacked capacity. That, though, is subject to there being no satisfactory evidence that the testatrix destroyed, or otherwise revoked, the 2011 will whilst she had capacity.

If the 2011 will can last be traced into the possession of someone other than the testatrix, there is no presumption of revocation and it should be possible to get a grant to a copy will, the grant being subject to the original 2011 will being located.

Paul Saunders

Thank you, yes I did read the earlier thread before posting and it now becomes clear. We’re in a position of the later Will revoked the earlier, and notwithstanding if that later Will is now lost presumed destroyed, there is no Will so intestate we go. Still in the process of usual search enquiries for the original later Will and hopefully the matter will be resolved one way or t’other. Thanks again.

John Cartlidge
Campion Solicitors