SWW and the National Will Register

SWW is very pleased to announce that you can now Register a Will or Search for a Will here. SWW in association with the National Will Register now provide SWW members and their clients with full Will Registration and Will Search facilities.

The National Will Register has registered millions of Wills and on peak days 1 Will is registered every 2 seconds. On a daily basis their Will search prevents estates being distributed on an assumed intestacy basis and avoids a superseded Will being used.

Their services are now widely recognised as best practice, and important to the SWW and their members who are focused to protect the client. With this in mind SWW now provides its members with free Will registrations* for their clients

The Society of Will Writers is a non-profit making self-regulatory organisation which seeks to protect the public and serve the interests of those men and women who are active professionals in our field.

The Society has set itself two main tasks: To promote to the public at large the real need and sense in having a valid Will; and to act as a self-regulatory body by vetting practitioners through stringent membership requirements, proficiency standards and on-going training.

The availability of these services ensure that SWW clients can now be protected through the provision of services provided by SWW in association with the National Will Register.


The SWW are partnered with Certainty the National Will Register and members are invited to register the location of their client’s Wills with Certainty in order that they can be found when they are needed. The SWW has a dedicated platform www.willsearchsww.co.uk where you can search the Certainty database.


If you would like to register your database, contact Certanty or the SWW and we will be able to assist.


If you store directly with The National Will Archive then you can opt for your clients Wills to be automatically stored with Certanty and we do the work. Just send your Wills in with the prescribed Custody Registration Form.


  • “The National Will Register found my Grandfather’s Will which was written 34 years ago” D Thomas
  • “It was vitally important I found my mother’s Will, the National Will Register found it” S Bradley
  • “The National Will Register gave us the peace of mind that we had done everything possible to find the last Will” K Adams
  • “Not only did the National Will Register find the current Will but also an older one” A Wills and Probate Solicitor
  • “Thank you National Will Register, Will search performed, Will found in 48 hourss” B Taylor



An Unknown Risk to the Estate?

Potentially unbeknown to a Will writing professional distributing an estate or who has already done so, people known to the deceased will undertake their own investigations if they feel something is untoward surrounding the way in which the estate is being, or was, distributed.

In 2018 there was an increase in the lay person using Certainty Will Search. In January and February 2018, Will finds following a Certainty Will Search by a lay person hit a record high at 45%.

The Certainty Will Search team took feedback from 100 members of the public who had undertaken a Certainty Will Search to understand their reasons for searching:

  1. a) 29% believed a Will did not exist and that the estate was intestate but as a PR wanted to safeguard their position by searching

In the case of a) this equated to 29 individuals searching for a Will that they did not think existed. The Certainty Will Search found eleven Wills for PRs who say they were adamant that a Will had not been written.

  1. b) 24% held a Will but as an Executor wanted to ensure that a later Will did not exist and appear after they had distributed the estate

In the case of b) this equated to 24 individual searches by Executors who believed they held the last Will, and had undertaken a search purely as a precautionary and comfort measure. Six later Wills were found.

  1. c) 4% were trying to discover if a Will existed because they felt the estate should not have been treated as intestate or the Will used to obtain the grant of probate was not the last Will.

In the case of c) one searcher states that they believed a revoked Will had been used that prevented them from receiving certain possessions from the deceased that held sentimental value for them.

It is becoming increasingly common, as a standard part of practice, to check if a Will or later Will exists as a first step in distributing an estate. If a Will writing professional does not recommend or undertake this practice then it is also becoming increasingly common for the lay person to search themselves.

Mathew L, lay person commented: “We were not happy with the way in which my mother’s uncle’s estate was being distributed by another member of our family. We used a National Will Register search and a later Will was discovered. We were initially contacted by the solicitor who held the Will and my mother was asked to provide a death certificate and identification. The found Will left a gift to my mother which fortunately she then received as part of the probate.”

For further information on the types of searches you can carry out please contact us on 0330 100 3660 or email [email protected].

Title: Making notifying the banks of a death easier for your clients’: An update on the newly launched service from the British Banking Association/UK Finance
Presenter: Stuart Simpson, Equiniti
Date: Wednesday 30th January 2019
Time: 12.00pm
Link: https://goto.webcasts.com/starthere.jsp?ei=1226030&tp_key=de1d4e9ec6

We are delighted to welcome Stuart Simpson from Equiniti who will presenting the next instalment of Certainty Expert Webinars.

Stuart Simpson will be giving an update on the newly launched service and how it is helping those dealing with a deceased estate and financial affairs.


  • Introduction to Equiniti
  • The Death Notification Service at 6 months
  • Future development and expansion plans
  • Search and register updates under one roof
  • Speeding up share sales

Join our webinar on Wednesday 30th January 2018 at 12.00pm for our hour long Certainty Expert Webinar.

Solved in 60 Seconds – Lost Will, closed law firm, right recommendation

Mr Robinson comments: “When my uncle passed away, we were holding a copy of a 1989 Will. Due to lots of family dynamics and circumstances changing since then, we wanted to check that there wasn’t a later Will before applying for probate. If this was the last Will we also needed to locate the original – the firm who wrote the Will were no longer in existence and we had no idea whether it even existed anymore, let alone where it might be.”

Mr Robinson continues: “My own search started with the local bank branch and the 2 solicitors in the village where my uncle lived – none of those had any information as to the whereabouts of my Uncle’s Will, however they recommended I contacted Certainty the National Will Register, and thought they might be able to help.

I had no reason to suspect that the Will might have been registered, so I opted to search for both registered and unregistered Wills.

Within 24 hours I received a call from a solicitor advising me that they were holding a file for my deceased Uncle, and made an appointment for me to visit them; they asked me to bring along a death certificate and some identification.”

Mr Robinson continues: “The Will that was discovered was the original 1989 Will, confirming the copy that we held was my uncle’s last Will solving 2 problems that we faced – was the 1989 Will the last? Would we have to prove the copy?”

Certainty does not disclose the existence of a Will – when a search takes place it provides the searcher’s details to the holder of the Will. The firm then verifies the searcher’s entitlement in order to discuss the Will with the searcher.

60 seconds after the Certainty Will Search, Certainty the National Will Register notified the solicitor that held the Will. 24 hours after being notified the solicitor contacted the searcher to verify their entitlement to discuss the Will. The searcher had been searching for 22 days before using a Certainty Will Search to solve the mystery.

Finding unknown, later and lost Wills each and every day.

For further information on Will registration and the types of searches you can carry out please contact us on 0330 100 3660 or email [email protected].