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I cannot find my parent’s will

On Behalf of | Dec 21, 2017 | Blog

Your parent has recently died, and you cannot find his or her will. You are fairly sure there was one governing what should happen to the estate. Perhaps you even know one existed and what was in it. You just cannot find it.

What does this mean? What can you do?

Speak to your parent’s lawyer

If your parent had a lawyer, you can ask that person if he or she has the will. If difficulties arise tracking down the lawyer, try the state bar association or your own lawyer. Of course, it is possible for your parent to have had a lawyer but to have kept possession of the will.

Determine whether a copy would withstand scrutiny

If you find a copy of the will, it is possible the courts would accept it. This is more likely to happen if you can show that the terms of the will are reasonable. That is, your parent had a good relationship with all of the beneficiaries and never made statements contradicting the instructions laid out in the will. Also, if you can show that the original was destroyed due to something such as a fire or flood, the court could be even more likely to accept a copy. You will need to involve the person who drew up the will and the people who signed it as witnesses.

If there is any indication that your parent destroyed the original because he or she no longer wanted the will to be valid, that could mean the court will not accept the copy.

Intestacy laws apply when there is no copy

It could be that you have not been able to find a copy and, despite your efforts searching high and low and asking around, cannot find the will. In such cases, intestacy laws would likely apply. Under such laws in Texas, if your parent died without a spouse, you and other descendants would inherit the entire estate.

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