Where Is Your Original Will

Where Is Your Original Will

It is important to know where you have stored your original documents, including your Powers of Attorney, Wills and even Certificates of Title. It is also important to let your close family members and Executors know where such documents are kept, they do not need to know the contents of the documents but should know the location of them if something were to happen to you.

When someone dies, the first thing family members will need to do is locate your original Will and obtain a Grant of Probate in order to deal with your estate. If they cannot locate the original document, it is not the end of the world, but it does make the Probate application process more complicated and costly.

When the original Will cannot be located the Courts presume that the deceased has destroyed their original Will and they no longer wanted their estate to be dealt with in the terms set out under that Will. This means that the Court will deem that the deceased did not have a valid Will and the laws of intestacy now apply.

Now it might be the case that the deceased did not destroy the Will, but instead had misplaced it and did not inform the Executors of the location of the document. The Executor can still try and Probate a copy of the Will but they would have the added onus of proving the following to the Court:

  1. That the Will exists.
  2. That the Will revoked all previous Wills of the deceased.
  3. That the deceased did not destroy the original Will and had intended for that document to be their final Will.

Proving point 3 above is quite an onerous task for the Executor, as they would need to find any kind of evidence that proves the was the case. For example they would need to talk to family members and see if the deceased had made a point of telling anyone they had a Will and where it was located.

If you have lost your original Will or cannot remember where it is, please contact our office to discuss the next steps.

If you are an Executor of an estate and you can only find a copy of a signed Will and not the original please contact our office to see how we can assist.

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