Davies Spina Falquez LLP (“DSF”) is a law firm in Toronto that discovered a missing will as a direct result of searching the Canada Will Registry. Susan Davies, partner at DSF, has been using NoticeConnect since 2017. She uses the platform to advertise for creditors and search for missing wills for her estate administration files. Her firm was an early adopter of NoticeConnect’s Canada Will Registry.
Lacking effective tools to search for missing wills
When administering an estate, it’s important to take steps to ensure that you have the deceased’s most recent will, or to verify that the deceased was intestate. Without a centralized will registry, the due diligence taken to look for any missing or undiscovered wills is a judgement call by the lawyer or estate trustee.
Susan would publish print notices asking if anyone knew about any wills made by the deceased. But these ads were expensive - multiple ads can cost upwards of $1,200 each - and waiting for a response could take over two months. The process rarely yielded results.
With no hard and fast rules about how to locate a will, the process was lengthy, uncertain, and expensive for clients.
Susan took on an estate administration file and right away she knew there would be some complications. The deceased’s wife was certain that her husband had made a will, but couldn’t find it. Without the will, the estate would have to be administered as an intestacy and the deceased’s wishes would not be honoured.
Take meaningful steps to find a missing will
Susan Davies' objective was to take meaningful steps to look for the deceased’s will. She sought to do this in a way that was cost-effective for the client and not time-consuming for her and her staff.
Searching the Canada Will Registry
Susan knew that NoticeConnect’s Canada Will Registry had thousands of registered wills. She went to NoticeConnect.com and submitted a Combined Registry Search for her client at a cost of $170 (disbursed to the estate). She listed which will she was looking for, why she was looking, and how to reach her if anyone has a matching will.
NoticeConnect processed Susan’s search, checking her search terms against its database of wills and sending out a Knowledge of a Will Notice to law libraries, lawyers, and other partners to check for non-registered wills.
NoticeConnect then sent Susan a Search Certificate, a document that listed her search terms, when she looked, and how many wills were checked against. This record served as evidence that Susan had taken effective steps to look for a missing will.
One day later, a law firm contacted Susan Davies about the missing will.
The missing will is found
Within days of searching, Susan was contacted by a law firm that had registered its wills on the Canada Will Registry. The firm received an alert that Susan had searched for a will they had in their vault. They saw that Susan was a lawyer handling the deceased’s estate, and knew they could get in touch.
"The will was in my hands the next day."
The Benefits of Searching
- Fast and cost-effective for the client
- Checks against many thousands of wills, both registered and unregistered
- Proof for your file that you took effective steps to search for a will
- Quick and easy communication between law firms
Want to see a demo or get your firm set up on the Canada Will Registry? Send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org to get started.