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Searching for Wills with the Canada Will Registry

In this article:

    The Canada Will Registry, created and maintained by NoticeConnect, is a secure database of registered wills from across Canada. After someone dies, searching this national registry is an important step to ensure that their estate planning documents can be found.

    Why search the Canada Will Registry?

    When someone dies, how do you know if they had a will? How do you know if you have the most recent will?

    If you’re administering an estate, relying on the wrong documents can result in mistakes, delays, and liability. Searching the Canada Will Registry is an optional step that allows you to:

    • Find out if the deceased had a will or codicil
    • Determine where these documents were stored
    • Document that you made a proper effort to find all estate planning documents

    How it works

    You or your lawyer visits the Canada Will Registry website and clicks the Search for a Will button. You then fill in our Search Query form, outlining who you are, whose will you’re looking for, and how to contact you if there’s a match.

    You’ll receive a Search Certificate from NoticeConnect confirming that you checked the will registry. This document is proof for your records that you took effective action to identify any missing or outstanding wills.

    The Canada Will Registry compares your search terms against the database of wills. These wills are registered by individuals and law firms across Canada. If there’s a matching will, either the law firm holding the will or NoticeConnect will reach out to you directly within thirty days. If you do not hear back, then you can assume there were no matches.


    Searching the Canada Will Registry costs a one-time fee that can be disbursed back to the estate.

    • A Standard Search checks the Canada Will Registry’s full database of wills ($95 + HST)
    • A Combined Search checks the Canada Will Registry’s full database and checks for unregistered wills by publishing a public notice that is distributed to law firms, law associations, and other partners ($170 + HST)

    Getting started

    Visit the Canada Will Registry website and click the Search for a Will button to prepare your Search Query.

    If you’d like to register your will, to ensure that it can be found when it’s needed, Willful customers can register their wills on the Canada Will Registry at no charge. For individuals in Quebec or BC, please note that there are provincial will registries in your province – in addition to registering your will with Canada Will Registry, you can also register with your local registry. 

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