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Collecting a will during a pandemic

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  • Collecting a will during a pandemic

    I am executor for my late grandmother who passed away at the beginning of March (not covid). I have a copy of the will but not the original. I have asked her solicitor for the original a month ago but have not yet received any response. Estate is valued and I am ready to apply for probate except for having the original will.

    Are other executors encountering the same issue that we cannot retrieve the original wills? Are probate offices making allowance for this and accepting photocopy? I am aware there is an affidavit option but that will still require notarising which might not be easy to organise at the moment, plus there may be a charge.

    I am appreciative that we are in an unprecedented situation and everybody’s safety is top priority. Solicitors should be working from home. I am just thinking that during a pandemic there is going to be more demand for will retrievals but no mechanism for executors getting them. It is making me question if storing a will with a solicitor is such a good idea if a pandemic lockdown ran for an extended period.

    Is there any guidance on how long a solicitor can hold onto a will once a request has been made for the retrieval, or what process they should be following to safely and appropriately release wills to executors in the current situation?
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  • #2
    I have received the will today. Almost two months from first request. So far as my investigation has gone there is no time limit on a solicitor releasing the will to the executor. Appreciative these are exceptional times for all of us but some may want to think twice about where their will is stored.

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