Lost Wills

Sometimes, a family knows that a deceased relative made a will, but the will cannot be found. Missing wills raise many legal issues. The outcomes of these situations depend on the specific facts and circumstances, as well as on the law of the state in which the deceased resided. If the will is missing because the deceased attempted to revoke it, depending on state law, an earlier will or the state’s rules on interstate SUCCESSION would determine how to distribute the deceased’s estate. If the will is missing because it was destroyed in an explosion or fire, the probate court may accept a photocopy of the will. The court may also accept the deceased lawyer’s draft or computer file. In either of these cases, the court will require evidence that the deceased executed the original will according to state law.

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