When a death occurs, the people close to the deceased may apply to consult the register of wills (Register of Wills and Testaments) in order to find out if the deceased's final wishes have been filed.
Performing a will search is recommended because it ensures that the last wishes of the author of the will—called the testator—are complied with. The search may be carried out by those close to the deceased or by any other person with an interest in doing so.
In the Grand-Duchy of Luxembourg, the Registration Duties, Estates and VAT Authority (Administration de l'enregistrement, des domaines et de la TVA – AED) is the agency in charge of administering this register, which is maintained as a database.
On the testator's death, any person may view the register of wills, upon presentation of a death certificate.
A will may (holographic will) or must (will by public deed/mystic will/holographic will deposited with a notary/spousal donation following death) be registered in the Register of Wills and Testaments.
It is not the content of the will that is recorded in the register, but information concerning the testator, and the name and the address of the person or the institution to whom the will was given.
Before undertaking such a procedure, the applicant must make an appointment with the Wills Service (Service des dispositions de dernière volonté) so that the latter can make preliminary arrangements for the search.
If the applicant wishes to file an application for a hard-copy search, they must also make initial contact with the Wills Service.
National or international will searches require the payment of a fee of EUR 9.92 per person in whose name the search is requested.
For will searches in Luxembourg and in several foreign countries, the amount of the fee will be doubled (EUR 19.84).
The payment must be made to the Wills Service before the requested information can be obtained.
Following the testator's death, any person may, upon presentation of a death certificate or a court ruling confirming the death, obtain information on whether a will was written and recorded in the National Register of Wills and Testaments.
The process of searching for a will entails filling in a form provided at the offices of the Registration Duties, Estates and VAT Authority in which the application for the search is submitted.
In the form, the applicant must indicate their identity and their address. They must then providing the following details about the deceased:
A copy of the death certificate or a court ruling confirming the death must be attached to the application. The existence of the will remains secret during the testator's lifetime.
In September 2012, the European Network of Registers of Wills Association (ENRWA) (Association du Réseau Européen des Registres Testamentaires - ARERT) implemented the 'Interconnection of the European Network of Registers of Wills' (Interconnexion des registres testamentaires européens) project. The purpose of this association is to put in place a European network of managers of national registers of wills.
International will searches are performed using the same form that is used for national will searches.
Currently, international will searches may be performed in the following countries: