Sealing of a Will

22nd September 2021

The Court has recently made an order that the Will of HRH The Prince Philip be sealed. If a Will is sealed copies will not be available to the public on request.

A Will becomes a public document once a grant of probate is obtained. The original Will is available for inspection and a copy can be obtained upon request and upon payment of a small fee from the Probate Registry.

At least this is the default position… It is possible for the Court, upon application, to rule that a Will should not be open to inspection, if the Court is satisfied that inspection would be undesirable or inappropriate.

There is a long tradition which spans over the past century for Royal family Wills to be sealed. The recent application and order in the case of HRH The Prince Philip’s Will follows this practice – Re the Will of his Late Royal Highness the Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh [2021] EWHC 77 (Fam).

The circumstances which might justify the sealing of a Will are likely to be few and far between. Therefore, anyone making a Will should expect the terms of their Will to become public once a grant of probate is obtained.

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