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HMRC internal manual

Trusts, Settlements and Estates Manual

HM Revenue & Customs
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Deceased persons: documents

You must not request the sight of a will or probate etc unless

  • for deeds of variation executed before 1 August 2002, there are doubts about the time limits for elections made under Section142 IHTA1984, or Section62(7) TCGA1992 (CG31600 to CG31680)
  • for deeds of variation executed on or after 1 August 2002, there are doubts about the deed containing a statement of intent that it is to take effect for tax purposes. For further information about deeds of variation see TSEM1815.
  • you require it as part of a formal SA enquiry (see TSEM7282)
  • you are to make a submission under CG31420. This is when a deed of variation has been made that alters the terms of the will.

The enquiry powers should enable you to obtain a copy of the will, probate or other similar document. If, exceptionally, you are unable to obtain the document, HMRC Trusts & Estates Inheritance Tax Nottingham may be able to help. They may be able to provide copies of documents for estates that exceed £325,000. If you need to contact them you must quote the full name of the deceased and the date of death and, if known, the Inheritance Tax reference.

Unrequested documents

If you are sent a will, probate or other similar document that you have not requested, return it to the sender.

If it is a probate, confirmation or letters of administration, you can take a copy if you require it and retain the copy in the folder 133P(X).

If it is a will, do not copy or read it. Tell the sender that we do not require to see the will and that you are returning it without copying or reading it.

Endorse the copy of your reply ‘original copy of the will returned to…without being read on…’.