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Register launched to help families track down wills

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A businessman and a firm of solicitors have teamed up to launch the first service for people who want to ''register'' their will before they die, so that next of kin will be easily able to locate it after death.

Ireland is one of the few countries that does not have an official state register for wills, and it is only after the will has been located and steps taken to enforce it, that the Probate Office becomes involved.

Now entrepreneur Mike Fraher has teamed up with Carlow-based law firm Farrell McElwee to launch the Irish Will Register, where for €40 people can register online the whereabouts of their will, making it easy to locate for executors and next of kin. The register will not hold a copy of the will or any other probate or confidential documents.

"I spotted that Ireland was the only country in Europe that did not have an online will register," says Mr Fraher, "I approached Simon McElwee and Joe Farrell and they immediately saw the merit in setting it up. We see it as becoming an essential part of the legal service for anybody making a will."

With some 3,000 legal firms in Ireland, wills can often be mislaid when firms close down, amalgamate or go out of business.

"I get emails almost every day of the week asking do I know the whereabouts of a will, every solicitor does," says solicitor Joe Farrell.

The Irish Will Register will record the existence of a person's will, give their name and address, date of birth and details of the solicitors' firm, financial institution or trustee that holds the original will.

The individual then gets a certificate of registration.

Sunday Independent