last will and testament

States vary on the requirements for what can be submitted to the courts if a will has been created but the original cannot be found.

If you have created a will but have lost track of it problems can arise as the Napa Valley Register discusses in its column “Is lost will still valid?,where a couple had questions on what might happen to their will.

The couple had left the will with the attorney who drafted it for them. The attorney, however, had retired and the couple had no idea what happened to their will or how to find the attorney to ask.

It is always a good idea to keep the original copy of your will safe and secure. In some states the original has to be produced for the will to be used in probate. In other states the original might not always be necessary, but the circumstances when a copy of the will can be used are restricted.

While the advice given was specific to California, it is generally good advice anywhere in the U.S. in this type of situation.

Attorneys are required to keep their files even after they retire. The normal practice is to have another attorney take care of the client files and to inform the state bar association of the arrangement.

Therefore, this couple should call the bar association and make inquiries. If that does not produce the whereabouts of the will, the couple can always get a new will or hope the probate court will accept a copy of the will at the appropriate time.

Reference: Napa Valley Register (Sept. 8, 2016) “Is lost will still valid?“.

For more information on asset preservation and estate planning, please visit my estate planning website.

Mr. Amoruso concentrates his practice on Elder Law, Comprehensive Estate Planning, Asset Preservation, Estate Administration and Guardianship.