By Chris Milne, Director & Head of Private Client

Unfortunately, that question might be more pertinent than usual in the coming weeks. We get asked it a lot.

The truth is, there is no 100% way of knowing. It is entirely possible for someone to make a Will and if no one knows they have done so, it might get missed and their wishes would not be carried out.

A Will has to be signed in a particular way, in order to be legally valid, but it does not have to be registered anywhere. This seems strange, as making a Will is one of the most important things you can do.

Making a Will through a solicitor and lodging it with them is one of the most secure ways in which you can make it known that you have made a Will and you should tell your executors that you have done so, so that they know where to go for the original when you have died.

Here at Onions & Davies, we go a step further, in that we subscribe to the Certainty National Wills Register. This is not comprehensive, since, as we have mentioned above, there is no legal requirement for a Will to be registered, but the hope is that one day there will be a comprehensive national register. The Government are not keen on introducing one at the moment because they worry that the cost of registration would put people off from making a Will.

The Certainty National Wills Register currently has over 8.4 million Wills on there and this continues to rise on a daily basis. It is the largest, most successful register of Wills to date.

When we make Wills for clients, we register their Wills on the Certainty National Will Register, free of charge, and this produces a record to show that those clients have made Wills and that the originals are stored at our offices for safe keeping.

The Register does not give any further information than that, so clients do not have to worry that their personal information is available to anyone who may search the Register.

If you know that someone has died but you are not sure whether or not they have made a Will, then please contact us at Onions & Davies, because we can search the Register for you and let you know. Our experienced Private Client team can also help you with any questions that you might have regarding the administration of their estate.


For friendly, knowledgable advice, please contact our Private Client team on 01630 411229 or