If the person left a will

A will states what should happen to a person’s property and belongings (‘estate’) after they die. It’s usually valid if it’s been signed by the person who made it and 2 witnesses.

An executor is someone named in the will, or in an update to the will (a ‘codicil’), as a person who can deal with the estate.

An executor usually applies for probate to deal with the estate.

You need the will and any updates to apply for probate. These must be original documents, not photocopies.

Find the original will

The person who died should have told all the executors where to find the original will and any updates, for example:

  • at their house
  • with a solicitor
  • at the London Probate Department - you’ll need the death certificate and to prove you’re the executor to be sent the will

Get help from a legal professional or Citizens Advice if you cannot understand a will or codicil.

You cannot find the original will

You’ll need to fill in a lost will form if you cannot find the original will.

There’s more than one will

Only the most recent will is valid. Do not destroy any copies of earlier wills until you’ve received probate.