SPG facilitate Will Search for its members and their clients
The Sole Practitioners Group is pleased to announce that in conjunction with Certainty, through an SPG dedicated portal www.certainty.org.uk/spg, their members can now access a national Will search service for registered and ‘unregistered’ Wills.
Finding a Will following a death is one of the first tasks people face. Firstly, some may look for a Will to check for funeral arrangements and secondly, everyone needs to look prior to proceeding with distribution of the deceased’s estate.
This is where the problem and risk can arise. If a Will can’t be found, was there one? If a Will is found, who can be sure it is the latest version? If the client says there wasn’t a Will, how can they be sure?
In a claim driven culture and in a practice area that attracts the second highest value of claims against our PI Insurance how do we help reduce the risk of a Will or subsequent Will coming to light after we have distributed the estate? In a society where matrimonial breakdown produces complex arguments over a couple’s assets and in thisrecession-burdened nation, inheritance is now being increasinglyfocused upon, and fought over.
One solution to help prevent a scenario arising that can result in disgruntled beneficiaries, administrators or executors bringing professional negligence claims is Certainty, the National Will Register.
Certainty provides the profession with a positive ‘circular’ solution consisting of the ability to be able to register a Will so it can be found. Importantly, Certainty also provides the ability to search for a Will that has not been registered.
To this end the Sole Practitioners Group is pleased to announce that in conjunction with Certainty , through an SPG dedicated portal www.certainty.org.uk/spg, our members can now access a national Will search service for registered and ‘unregistered’ Wills.
SPG have had open conversations over recent years with Certainty to understand whether the service it offers is of value to Sole Practitioners who provide Wills and Probate services to their clients. You may have met them at our recent conferences!
It is fair to say that the size of Certainty’s Register and its ability to search for unregistered Wills makes what they do very relevant. Of real value is the fact that Certainty Will search is now widely recognised to greatly reduce risk during estate distribution. Certainty Will search is legally referenced and recommended to establish the existence of a Will or the last Will and therefore provides a practitioner with evidence of a search to reduce the increasing risk and mitigate against a negligence claim.
Indeed, last year at our Annual Conference, one of our speakers, Mark Baxter ofFive Stone Buildings, explained how in his view we should not proceed with a probate or estate administration matter without a Certainty Will search being first carried out to protect against claims. Further to this, Thomas Dumont ofRadcliffe Chambers, has issued a very clear legal Opinion stating the same.
An unknown Will that is found, is good for the testator, executor, family and the practitioner. The testator’s last wishes are upheld and the executors can distribute the estate with peace of mind. Certainty Will search provides a high level of ‘certainty’ and protection. We should welcome the opportunity in not having to take what could be an expensive risk, when a low cost Will search, which can be billed as an allowable disbursement from the estate, can be made quickly and easily.
Members should also be aware that SPG will receive a commission payment from Certainty on any Wills search conducted through the SPG dedicated portal www.certainty.org.uk/spg. This means that we can raise vital funds to continue to run SPG and to provide the services and support that benefit all our members.
To assist those of you who do not already use Certainty, we will shortly be running a webinar to outline these risks and to also provide an overview of the Thomas Dumont legal Opinion. There is also a ‘How To Guide to Certainty’ that is available.
In the meantime to perform a Will search (from £33+vat) visit www.certainty.org.uk/spg
For any other matters contact Hilary Underwood, SPG Co-ordinator on firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com