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Storage of wills?

How do you know if you are a beneficiary of a will? What checks are carried out? How long after becoming a beneficiary would an inheritance be paid?

Storage of wills?

The Probate Service offers a low cost wills storage service. It may be that the deceased used this service rather than a solicitor or a bank for storage of their will. As, it may be easier to find if a will is stored by a central official service.

Some clients prefer their executors or solicitor to store the original or a copy of their will.


How do I know if I am the beneficiary of a will?

If someone has left a will and you are a beneficiary of an estate, you would usually be contacted by the executor, or the solicitor the executor has instructed, to notify you that you are a beneficiary. The executor is an individual appointed to administer the last will and testament of a deceased person, and their main duty is to carry out the instructions to manage the affairs and wishes of the deceased.

Once the executor of the will has applied for Probate (the legal and financial processes involved in dealing with the assets of a person who has died), the will becomes a public document and you can obtain a copy of it to check if you are a beneficiary of the estate.


As a beneficiary of a person’s will, what documents do I need to present before I can receive my inheritance? What checks are carried out?

Often, as a beneficiary you will need to provide documents such as a driving license and passport to verify your identity and address. A bankruptcy search will also be carried out by the solicitor before any inheritance is paid to you. 


How long after becoming a beneficiary would an inheritance be paid? Is there anything that might slow things down?

If the estate is simple and there is no property involved, matters can usually be completed within around six months. Where estates are more complex, for example where inheritance tax is payable, you may be looking at around 12 – 18 months. If you are a beneficiary, you are often able to receive interim distributions if the solicitor is holding some monies on their client’s account before the estate is finalised. If someone is contesting the will – or challenging it - then the process can take much longer if matters end up at court. If there is a property to sell, this could also delay matters. 

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