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Locating a Will, Legal file or Real Estate Document

If you are looking for a will, legal file or document that was prepared by a lawyer or paralegal in Waterloo Region, there are a number of places you might search. The Waterloo Region Law Association cannot provide legal advice to the public.

Lawyers and paralegals are responsible for providing the Waterloo Region Law Association (WRLA) with up to date information regarding the location or transfer of their practice. As a result, the Waterloo Region Law Association has information to the extent it has been provided to us.

1. Looking for wills or power of attorney documents:

    • The first place you should look is close to home. Often wills have been found in safety deposit boxes or tucked away safely in a desk or drawer at home.
    • Contact the lawyer or paralegal directly and inquire if they have retained a copy of your will, document or client file
    • Search the WRLA's Member Directory  for contact information.
    • If the lawyer or paralegal worked in a law firm and is no longer practising, try contacting the law firm to inquire if they have retained closed files and wills.
    • Contact the estates department in the civil office of the Superior Court of Justice in the location where the testator lived to see if the document was deposited with the court. Addresses and court information for courthouses in Ontario can be accessed on the Ministry of the Attorney General's website.
    • If you are an Ontario lawyer, or if you have retained a lawyer in Ontario, he or she may conduct a search on Willcheck.ca, an Ontario wills registry database maintained by the County of Carleton Law Association.
    • You may wish to submit a search request with NoticeConnect, which has created the Canada Wills Registry. Their system takes your search query and compares it against the wills that have been registered in their database. NoticeConnect can also assist in locating wills that have not been registered in their database. This service sends a Knowledge of a Will notice to NoticeConnect's mailing list, law libraries and other partners, asking the legal community if anyone has or knows about a particular will.
    • You may wish to contact a lawyer who offers services in estate law. Estate lawyers may be able to assist in the search for an original will, or otherwise advise you about a missing or lost will and how to proceed without an original will.
    • You may wish to submit a Will Notice to the WRLA for publication in the monthly e-newsletter. Please email the full name, date of birth, date of death, city of birth, city of death, the lawyer's name that wrote the original will and send it to pwilliams@waterloolaw.org. Newsletters are sent to our membership electronically on the first of the month. 
    • In some cases, the Law Society Ontario (LSO) may have information about the location of wills, legal files and documents from the former practices of lawyers or paralegals. To contact the LSO call 1-800-668-7380 ext. 3366 or email at Trustee_Services@lso.ca or submit an online inquiry form
    2. Looking for real estate documents (for example, a mortgage or deed), contact the Waterloo Region Land Registry Office. The land registry office maintains official records of land and property in Ontario, including title, deed and mortgage documents. Waterloo Region Land Registry Office can be reached at (519) 571-6043 or https://www.ontario.ca/page/overview-land-registry.

      3. Looking for court documents, contact the Waterloo Region Courthouse. Many documents are filed in the context of litigation or are available at the courthouse in the context of criminal, provincial offences and immigration matters.

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