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Solicitors And Wills

Bree

Registered User
Oct 16, 2013
246
My dear husband passed away Sunday last. At this harrowing distressing time, I have found that all the official departments that my son and myself have contacted have been so understanding and helpful.

The Bank, his occupational pensions office, the DHSS state pensions office etc have all accepted a scanned copy of his death certificate. Then the fun started with the solicitor. Bearing in mind that I have a LPA and that I am the executor of my husband's will, I thought that all I had to do was to request it as I had done previously with my parent's wills, but no. The wills were made when we lived 200 miles away from where we live now, but left with the solicitor. I rang them to request the will three times before anyone helped me, the first response was that they couldn't find it. I did give them the address where we had lived previously, but they denied having it. When I insisted that they had it, and I had the copy, and invited them to check their accounts, they found it !

All good, no, now they wanted to see a certified copy of the will, ok we could send a scanned copy, no I had to go into their office with the copy and proof of my identity. I did explain that I lived two hundred miles away. So they said that I should post everything to them. On the basis that they denied having the will, I was doubtful that I would ever see the death certificate again. I then asked if my daughter could collect it, yes with the certified copy, proof of her identity and mine. What I couldn't understand was that they also said that I should go to a local solicitor, take the original certificate with me, and have it certified. I explained that the original stays with the registrar, and I only possess certified copies from the registry office, but they insisted that I would have been given the original. In the end I lost it and put the phone down.

My question is how can they be so obstructive, we paid them to draw up our wills, we left them in good faith, no-one told us that we would have to jump through hoops to get them in the event of a death. Is what they are doing/requesting even their legal right to do ?
 

Casbow

Registered User
Sep 3, 2013
1,004
Colchester
My dear husband passed away Sunday last. At this harrowing distressing time, I have found that all the official departments that my son and myself have contacted have been so understanding and helpful.

The Bank, his occupational pensions office, the DHSS state pensions office etc have all accepted a scanned copy of his death certificate. Then the fun started with the solicitor. Bearing in mind that I have a LPA and that I am the executor of my husband's will, I thought that all I had to do was to request it as I had done previously with my parent's wills, but no. The wills were made when we lived 200 miles away from where we live now, but left with the solicitor. I rang them to request the will three times before anyone helped me, the first response was that they couldn't find it. I did give them the address where we had lived previously, but they denied having it. When I insisted that they had it, and I had the copy, and invited them to check their accounts, they found it !

All good, no, now they wanted to see a certified copy of the will, ok we could send a scanned copy, no I had to go into their office with the copy and proof of my identity. I did explain that I lived two hundred miles away. So they said that I should post everything to them. On the basis that they denied having the will, I was doubtful that I would ever see the death certificate again. I then asked if my daughter could collect it, yes with the certified copy, proof of her identity and mine. What I couldn't understand was that they also said that I should go to a local solicitor, take the original certificate with me, and have it certified. I explained that the original stays with the registrar, and I only possess certified copies from the registry office, but they insisted that I would have been given the original. In the end I lost it and put the phone down.

My question is how can they be so obstructive, we paid them to draw up our wills, we left them in good faith, no-one told us that we would have to jump through hoops to get them in the event of a death. Is what they are doing/requesting even their legal right to do ?
I have recently been bereaved and find that everything that I have to do, is all too much. My husband's death was sudden and therefore, very distressing. My brain seemed to turn to mush and I have found it all very difficult. We had mirror wills. And I also have power of attorney. They all ask for the original death certificate but the registry office charges £11 for copies. I have just sent one of those off to my husband's private pension people. I am waiting to see what happens next. I understand how you feel. But everyone says to me, take your time, don't try to do too many things at once. So my dining room table is full of "things to be done." I suppose one day it will all be ok. Everything was done by both me and my husband to make this fairly straight forward, long before we got older. I wish you luck and that it gets sorted soon. And the solicitors that drew up the wills just says I don't need them anymore. x
 

nitram

Registered User
Apr 6, 2011
20,870
North Manchester
All the solicitors need to see to hand over the original of the will is:
  • Proof of death - you have official copies of the entry in the register.
  • Proof that they are handing the will over to a named executor. Ask what ID they require, get the documents copied and certified by a local solicitor, and send the certified copies.
Asking for a certified copy of the will is strange, solicitors are reluctant to certify copies for people other than executors and then after death, the will may be revised and a certified earlier copy used. Where they asking you to get an uncertified copy copied and then certified?

Methinks somebody in their office need (re)training.
 

jugglingmum

Registered User
Jan 5, 2014
5,859
Chester
The ID requirement is a legal requirement to prove you are who you say you are.

I presume that you mean certified copy of death cert, not will, which might well be their terms of practice if you left will with them to hold until death.
 

Spamar

Registered User
Oct 5, 2013
7,475
Suffolk
When OH died I went to the solicitors to get a copy of the will. After a bit of hassle -we haven’t got it/can’t find it, it was eventually produced. But it had the wrong name on the envelope. So, after checking it was the right one, I took both his and my will plus copies away. Never used those solicitors again. Bit awkward cos the boss is a friend of a friend. But a simple, ‘yes, I know him’ has been sufficient so far!

And I wont go into how totally useless my fils solicitors were. I said several times, but darling, they’re solicitors! And he said ‘they’re a load of rogues’, I’ve apologised several times to him where his ashes were scattered!

Something I read the other day- keep your Will up to date. If all the wrong people die, it could end up as intestate, and that’s a whole new ballgame. You really don’t want to be there!
 

jugglingmum

Registered User
Jan 5, 2014
5,859
Chester
You should be asked to prove ID, but some solicitors do use some of the available on line ID proof services for regular clients where they need ID now but didn't before.

Some solicitors and accountants use these exclusively so don't ask clients for ID (on line forums that I read). Although these will fail for elderly clients at times, who don't have enough of an electronic footprint or 'nationally sensitive' clients whose home address details aren't available eg MPs
 

Palerider

Registered User
Aug 9, 2015
1,933
North West
watkin.observer
As my dads sole executor of his will, the solicitor would only deal with me and released a copy only for me to use to close his accounts etc. He refused my brothers request to have a copy.
 

jenniferjean

Registered User
Apr 2, 2016
760
Basingstoke, Hampshire
Something I read the other day- keep your Will up to date. If all the wrong people die, it could end up as intestate, and that’s a whole new ballgame. You really don’t want to be there!
I've recently had my will updated. However my husband (PWD) was unable to as he doesn't have capacity. When his will was made, along with myself, our son was named as executor. Unfortunately our son has since died. So if I was to go first I guess there could be a problem.

Our original wills were made when we lived in Wales but when we moved we had them, along with the PWDs, transferred to a local solicitor. I just had to sign a form requesting them.
 

Lorna44

Registered User
Jul 16, 2016
198
Surrey
When my mum died both my brother and I had to go to solicitors with ID to obtain the will, we also had to produce
my oldest brothers death Certificate too as he was an executor too. It was difficult time...
 

Lynmax

Registered User
Nov 1, 2016
553
I don't know if this relevant but I recently had to have some documents certified - to do with money laundering of some money I gave my son to help with a house purchase ( not for the deposit but legal fees etc). I discovered that certain post offices can certify documents and only charge £12.75 for up to three documents. That was much cheaper than using a solicitor and I did not need to make an appointment. Because I stood there in front of the post office assistant, I was able to have copies of my documents certified and this was acceptable to my sons bank.
 

Beate

Registered User
May 21, 2014
12,022
London
The OP doesn't need the death certificate to be certified. They have, as solicitors should know, been furnished with certified copies by the registry office already. The original will not ever leave the registry office, so I absolutely don't know what these people are on about. Just send them a copy, but also say it's your property and you want it back.
 

Saffie

Registered User
Mar 26, 2011
22,514
Near Southampton
I think it is quite usual for a solicitor to want to see one of the original official copies of the Death certificate made by the Registrar at the time of registration. Many financial organisations will do so too. I was advised by the Registrar to buy a few and was glad I did so as they proved essential.
I also had to have the Will authorised by a solicitor as not all services etc. will accept a copy although I would have thought the solicitor who drew up that Will would have not thought it necessary.

I have no knowledge of Registrars sending official copies of a death certificate to a solicitor nor to anyone. The ‘Tell it Once’ service informs certain central and local government departments of a death but have never heard that they are sent the death certificate.

I have never not had a death certificate - nor a certified copy of a Will - returned to me.
 
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Bree

Registered User
Oct 16, 2013
246
Thank you for your replies, it seems that my solicitor/clerk is under the impression that you actually receive the original death certificate. I explained over and over that I had certified copies, but that wouldn't do, why I know not. As has been suggested, maybe I was dealing with someone who didn't have enough knowledge to deal with my situation. The fact that they refused a scanned copy to be sent to them is beyond me, in view of the fact that all the official bodies did. Note to self, make a new will, keep at home !
 

Saffie

Registered User
Mar 26, 2011
22,514
Near Southampton
As you have said, the original certificate is never given out but most organisations who ask for an original are referring to the official copy from the Registrar but not one you have scanned yourself. Perhaps this solicitor was confused about what you were sending him though if they took so long to find the Will, I’m not surprised you don’t have much faith in him! We found that some are happy with a scanned copy but most wanted the Registrar’s ‘original’ copy - if you see what I mean!
 

Beate

Registered User
May 21, 2014
12,022
London
Maybe you just need to change the language - send him the certified copy and say it's the original that was given by the registry office. ;)
 

LadyA

Registered User
Oct 19, 2009
13,630
Ireland
tbh, if it were me, I'd go to a local (to where you live now) Solicitor and get them to deal with it. You can give them your id and documentation and they can deal with the other lot. I well remember how mountainous the smallest thing appeared when my husband died. It took so much effort to do anything. I also had to go back to my Solicitor a couple of years later, as I literally had no memory of some of the stuff we sorted out or were talking about sorting out. The months following his death are fairly blank in places.
My condolences on your loss too. It seems wrong that at such a stressful time, officialdom can create more burdens.
 

Casbow

Registered User
Sep 3, 2013
1,004
Colchester
The OP doesn't need the death certificate to be certified. They have, as solicitors should know, been furnished with certified copies by the registry office already. The original will not ever leave the registry office, so I absolutely don't know what these people are on about. Just send them a copy, but also say it's your property and you want it back.
You cannot get the original so they have to accept a certified copy. Always use registered post to send them. I have got to get a document signed by a solicitor,Commisioner for oaths, Justice of peace or person qualified to administer oaths. So going to have to go to solicitor. More money.!!!
tbh, if it were me, I'd go to a local (to where you live now) Solicitor and get them to deal with it. You can give them your id and documentation and they can deal with the other lot. I well remember how mountainous the smallest thing appeared when my husband died. It took so much effort to do anything. I also had to go back to my Solicitor a couple of years later, as I literally had no memory of some of the stuff we sorted out or were talking about sorting out. The months following his death are fairly blank in places.
My condolences on your loss too. It seems wrong that at such a stressful time, officialdom can create more burdens.
I am going through this process at the moment. I keep looking at things and my brain is mush. Can't cope with more than one thing a day. Tomorrow I will make appointment to see the solicitor to get some papers signed. None of this is easy.x
 

Casbow

Registered User
Sep 3, 2013
1,004
Colchester
As you have said, the original certificate is never given out but most organisations who ask for an original are referring to the official copy from the Registrar but not one you have scanned yourself. Perhaps this solicitor was confused about what you were sending him though if they took so long to find the Will, I’m not surprised you don’t have much faith in him! We found that some are happy with a scanned copy but most wanted the Registrar’s ‘original’ copy - if you see what I mean!