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We know from Deathly Hallows that the Ministry examines Wills, as Scrimgeour shows up to give Harry the items that are bequeathed to him (save the Sword, of course). Hermoine even suggests that basically the Ministry probably took their time with examining the will.

This would imply then that Sirius Black's will was also examined by the Ministry and that they know that he left everything to Harry, including 12 Grimmauld Place.

With Sirius Black a suspected Death Eater at the time, how/why did the Ministry allow this? Especially when you consider that something so simple as Harry's broom (a present) was inspected (albeit by I believe McGonagall) because it could have been cursed, etc. before he could have it.

Furthermore, if the Ministry then knew about the possessions that Sirius bequeaths to Harry, how were they (Death Eaters who basically ran the Ministry) later on not able to find Grimmauld Place? I would imagine that the Will itself would act as a sort of secret keeper and thus break the Fidelius Charm. If the Ministry did inspect the bequeathed possessions, I imagine that they (the Ministry) would probably want to inspect this piece of property as well. I have no canon proof of this, just speculation.

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I distinctly recall a line something like "Black? No, he was cleared" when Fudge was talking to the Prime Minister, though I don't have my books handy. –  Compro01 Jul 21 at 16:06
    
Sirius wan't suspected anymore after the ministry reconciled with Albus Percival Wulfric Brian Dumbledore. –  Awal Garg Jul 21 at 16:07
    
Yes, but that doesn't necessarily mean that he was instantly forgiven (for lack of better word). Unless of course I missed something in canon. Either way, the Ministry would surely have inspected the Will. –  pinkfloydx33 Jul 21 at 16:08

3 Answers 3

up vote 16 down vote accepted

It’s unlikely that they performed the same level of examination as they did with Dumbledore, but they certainly knew what the will said.

I am not a lawyer, etc.

Sirius was no longer believed to be a Death Eater

After he was murdered by his cousin and recent Azkaban escapee on Ministry property, they began to come to their senses and realise that Sirius was innocent. As Fudge explains to the Muggle Prime Minister:

“Is Serious Black with – er – He Who Must Not Be Named?”

“Black? Black?” said Fudge distractedly, turning his bowler rapidly in his fingers. “Sirius Black, you mean? Merlin’s beard, no. Black’s dead. Turns out we were – er – mistaken about Black. He was innocent after all. And he wasn’t in league with He Who Must Not Be Named either. I mean,” he added defensively, spinning the bowler hat still faster, “all the evidence pointed – we had more than fifty eye-witnesses – but anyway, as I say, he’s dead. Murdered, as a matter of fact. On Ministry of Magic premises. There’s going to be an inquiry, actually…”

Half-Blood Prince, chapter 1 (The Other Minister)

So they can’t scrutinise Sirius’s will because he’s a convicted Death Eater.

Dumbledore visits Harry on 12th July (according to analysis by the HP Lexicon). This is when we first hear of Sirius’s will:

“I must tell you that Sirius’s will was discovered a week ago and that he left you everything he owned.”

Half-Blood Prince, chapter 3 (Will and Won't)

This means it was found in early July, and Sirius was killed in mid-June. I think it fairly likely that Dumbledore convinced the Ministry of Sirius’s innocence before his will was found, so that problem goes away. Any attempt to drum up charges on which to search it would look desperate and silly.

The will is probably on public record anyway

Under UK law, your will enters the public record after completing probate (the first step in resolving a deceased person’s estate). It seems reasonable to assume the Ministry of Magic have similar laws.

This means that if the Death Eaters want to find the headquarters of the Order via Sirius’s will, they can just obtain a copy from the Office of Magical Law. No need to do anything suspicious.

Sirius doesn’t need to name Grimmauld Place in his will

Again, I am not a lawyer. But I believe the following would be sufficient for Sirius to bequeath Grimmauld Place without explicitly naming the property:

I give, devise and bequeath all of my worldly possessions and estate, including the rest, residue and remainder thereof, to HARRY POTTER of 4 Privet Drive, Little Whinging, Surrey.

(Based on a real will)

There may have been other legalese to avoid the house passing to another pureblood relative, but that’s the crux of it. If Sirius is savvy, then he doesn’t name Grimmauld Place, so you can’t use his will to find the Order.

When Sirius wrote the will, he was still believed to be a Death Eater, and he’d know that wills were a public record. I’m sure he was quite careful about what he wrote, how he wrote it, and thought about who might be reading it after his death.

That he left everything to Harry isn’t hugely surprising or suspicious – it would be on public record that he was Harry’s godfather.

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Your last point is what sprung to my mind. Dumbledore was leaving Harry certain things - and they therefore had to be named. Sirius was leaving Harry everything. So he didn't have to name every single thing he owned. –  starsplusplus Jul 22 at 2:48

This question Assumes the ministry has Sirus's will. Dumbledores will may also have been a special situation as he was a very public, high profile wizard, and potentially was giving out items that may or may not have been his to give. If all wizards submitted their wills through the ministry Sirus may not have even had a will to give them before he went to jail. And after escape i doubt he would then submit a will to the ministry so he may have left his will with Dumbledore himself. Since there is only 1 instance of a will in the Harry Potter universe we cant determine whether it was truly a ministry run operation, Or because of Dumbledores standing against Voldemort, and increased ministry invasiveness during the war that they took Dumbledores will themselves. Also since the Sirus house was under protection, the ministry would not have known the houses location.

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as a side note say the ministry did have his will, all it had to say was everything i own belongs to Harry Potter. –  Himarm Jul 21 at 16:18
    
Well something had to exists to prevent Bellatrix or any other Black heir from claiming the belongings. I believe Dumbledore is the one who informs Harry that Sirius left him everything. I imagine word of mouth wouldn't be enough, that a Will definitely existed and something (ie The Ministry) would have to enforce it--and thus have the will. –  pinkfloydx33 Jul 21 at 16:28

I think the most likely answer is that Sirius Black's will did not note the address of the house, only leaving all of his possessions to Harry and in doing so leaving the house. The statements earlier are correct, by the beginning of The Half Blood Prince, we know that the Ministry has cleared Sirius. I think that they would have examined his will, though perhaps not as thoroughly as they examined Harry's, and just let it go through.

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I think you mean Dumbledore's (not Harry's) –  pinkfloydx33 Jul 21 at 19:03

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