The National Will Register has reported that it is starting to see a surge in Will searches being performed from those suffering a bereavement as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic or by those who are self-isolating.
The report states that those using ‘Will search’ are doing so because they need to locate a will “quickly in advance of a funeral” to understand if the deceased’s will contained funeral wishes.
In such cases the people performing a will search are searching because they are either self-isolating, do not want to enter the home of others who may have or are suffering from the Covid-19 virus, or enter the home of a victim of the virus to look for evidence of a will.
A spokesperson for the National Will Register said: “In the current crisis our response times remain high for those performing a Will search in advance of a funeral. It is important to find out if the deceased left a Will because they may have expressed specific funeral wishes in it.
Those suffering a bereavement as a result of Covid-19 or self-isolating will be extremely sensitive and feel vulnerable, but still want to make sure any funeral wishes contained within a Will are adhered to.”
They added: “Families not only want to find the Will for probate purposes but also to understand if the deceased left funeral wishes in their will.
“Usually a will search is undertaken by the executors and their solicitor prior to probate to ensure they are in possession of the very last copy of the will as the deceased’s home may contain many versions and later versions which may not be discovered in an emotional state whilst sifting through the property.”
They concluded: “The bereaved may also be unaware if a will was ever written. In the case of probate, an executor is financially liable for not distributing the estate using the last Will or on an assumption that a Will does not exist when one does.
“In the current crisis, any additional reassurance that everything possible has been done to ensure family were not put at risk when arranging the funeral and that steps were taken to ensure a loved one’s funeral wishes were carried out should they have been contained within a Will, can provide comfort.”