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Date the wills were proved

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Date the wills were proved

Postby TCJ » Sun Oct 20, 2019 3:41 am

Hi, I was wondering if I could ask for some advice please regarding the date that wills were proved? I am a little fearful that this question will sound silly, but I was just wondering if the date that an old will was proved is an indication of the date that the person passed away? Were the wills usually proved immediately after the person died? Thank you very much in advance.
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Re: Date the wills were proved

Postby AdrianB38 » Sun Oct 20, 2019 6:39 am

Usually wills get proved within a few months of the death. Unfortunately, the devil is in the detail of what that word "usually" means. I don't know of any rules in England and Wales about when wills have to be proven although there are (now) rules about when Estate Duty needs to be paid, which probably requires probate first)

Fortunately many probate documents and probate calendars (lists of probates) will give the date of death - but while I can't cross check now, I have a feeling that some might not. Possibly the earlier calendars created by church courts might omit death details???

Reasons for dates of probate (ie date of proving) being considerably different from the date of the death vary.

In one example I had recently, the difference was nearly a full year - the deceased had left everything to his wife making her and her brother joint executors. However his wife died a few months after him so presumably never had the chance to get probate. It was therefore left to her brother to do the probate and one wonders if he ever knew that he was the sole surviving executor until they were sorting out the affairs of the deceased wife. So it was months later that the will of the deceased husband got proved - after that of the deceased wife. So they died in one order but their wills were proved in the opposite order.

It's by no means unusual for the date of the probate to be years after the date of the death - though I'd take a wild guess that it tends to be an administration in those cases (ie no will). Quite why that happens is often unknown. Maybe nobody ever bothered because they carried on living in the same house say, and it's only when they come to sell up that they realize that they don't actually legally own the place.

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Re: Date the wills were proved

Postby AdrianB38 » Sun Oct 20, 2019 6:42 am

So it wasn't a silly question because there are weird and unfathomable cases where dates of death and proving are very different.

Fortunately they are always in that order (unless anyone knows different? Grin)

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Re: Date the wills were proved

Postby TCJ » Sun Oct 20, 2019 8:59 am

Thank you so very much Adrian. I really appreciate your kind help.
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