What To Do When You Can’t Find An Original Will


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A will is a legal document that plans out your wishes regarding your children, finances, real estate, and any other assets you own. As someone ages and starts thinking about their mortality, meeting with a lawyer to write a will is one of the next steps. Once created, the original will is kept in a safe or with the lawyer so it can be easily found when needed. Copies may be kept in other locations in case the original cannot be located.

When someone with a will passes away, it is customary that the family locate the original before beginning the probate process. While having the original will is the best option, there are times when it just cannot be found and the family has to take alternative options.

What To Do When You Can’t Find An Original Will

If the original will was previously revoked…

You will need to use an earlier signed will or the laws of succession will determine the outcome of their assets.

If you only have a  copy…

You can submit a copy of the original but you will need to provide evidence that this copy came directly from the signed original. That evidence can be in the form of an affidavit of one of the witnesses to the will.

If the original is missing…

First, check the deceased’s home thoroughly. Look through any regular hiding spots, safes, and safe deposit boxes. Without the will, you’ll need to contact the deceased’s attorney to determine how the estate will be settled. When there is no will presented, the estate proceeds as if no will was created.

Finding a lost will can be nearly impossible once the creator has passed. To keep this from happening, inform your attorney, executor, trustee, and any other trusted friend/ family member where you are keeping the original. If there is a key or lock code to get to your will, remember to give that information to trusted family members.

If you need help creating and probating your will, contact JMG Law Firm today. We’re here to assist you through the process and give you tips on properly securing your original in a safe place.