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Wills: Disclosure of Information

Question for Ministry of Justice

UIN HL15091, tabled on 20 April 2021

To ask Her Majesty's Government whether all wills requiring probate are required to be made available for public inspection; if not, what plans they have to make this a requirement for all wills, including those of members of the Royal Family; and, further to the Wills Act 1837, whether the last will and testament of HRH The Prince Philip will be made available for public inspection.

Answered on

28 April 2021

Where an application is made to the Probate Service (part of the Family Division of the High Court) for a grant of probate in respect of a will, the general rule is that the will is attached to the grant of probate and made public. However, under Section 124 of the Senior Courts Act 1981, this is “subject to the control of the High Court and the probate rules”. Rule 58 of the Non-Contentious Probate Rules 1987 makes provision for the Court to determine that a will shall not be open to inspection if “such inspection would be undesirable or otherwise inappropriate”.

The Government has no current plans to change these rules. It is for the Court to determine, on an application by the personal representatives of the testator, whether any will should be closed to public inspection.