What Happens if a Will is Found after Probate?
The Will must be submitted to the Court as it’s a legal document.
When someone dies in England or Wales, their next of kin or chosen Executor of the Will applies to the Probate Registry for the legal authority to carry out Probate. This allows them to share assets and distribute the Estate according to the Will or, if there is no Will, according to the Rules of Intestacy.
Finding a Will after you’ve already applied for or completed the administration of an estate can be very upsetting. In 2019, it was found that Lloyds Bank had failed to pass on over 9,000 customer Wills, leaving thousands of families in difficult and stressful situations. Lloyds Bank have committed to compensating those families that have lost out on their inheritance and will not look to recover the assets that have already been awarded.
Thankfully, situations like this are uncommon, but they do happen. If you need help or legal advice contact us and we’ll be happy to help you.
Who Can Apply for Probate?
This depends on if the person who died made a Will or not.
If there is a valid Will, the named Executor is in charge of dividing the assets and administering the Estate according to the Will. They have the legal authority to do this by getting a Grant of Probate.
If there is no Will, the next of kin apply for a Grant of Administration. This gives them the same kind of legal authority over the assets and they then split the Estate up between family members.
If you find out that you’re the Executor of a Will, it’s your responsibility to see that the Will is honoured. If you don’t want to deal with the Estate we offer a Full Probate Service.
What if I have a Grant of Administration when we find the Will?
The named Executor of the Will can still send it to the Probate Registry. When the deceased had a Will, the Probate Registry will administer a new Grant of Probate that supports the Will and will reverse the original Grant.
Is There a Time Limit?
No strict time limit exists. Every case is different and if you find a Will one month or one decade after your loved one passes away, you should still apply to the Probate Registry for a Grant of Probate.
What if Assets Have Already been Divided?
You should still look to honour the Will. Usually, the beneficiaries are family members or friends, so it is easy to contact them. Wherever possible, we recommend that you try to resolve the re-division of the assets outside of Court. Negotiating outside of Court is always the less complicated and cheapest option.
But sometimes, this isn’t an option. If there is conflict between the people who have already benefited from the Will and the new beneficiaries, it can be difficult and costly to go through the Court. We recommend that you speak with one of our Wills and Trusts Solicitors as soon as possible to recover assets.
If you find that a bank or a company has failed to disclose a Will, you can seek compensation with a personal claim. But, this limits you to a one off payment and doesn’t allow you to claim any assets.
It’s also possible to make a claim against the Executors that took out the original Grant of Probate or the beneficiaries that received the assets. Both ways present their own difficulties, but our teams of specialist Solicitors can help you.
For free legal advice call our Probate Solicitors
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Simpson Millar Solicitors are a national law firm with over 500 staff and offices in Billingham, Bristol, Cardiff, Catterick, Lancaster, Leeds, Liverpool, London and Manchester.