This is probably a difficult time for you and your family.A loved one is gone, and now you have to take care of what was left behind. You’ve already taken the first steps- the arrangements have been made, flowers ordered, and now you have to begin the probate process, except you can not locate the will. Now what?
Here are a few steps to take when this happens to you.
Check a safe deposit box.
Safe deposit boxes are commonly used for storing important papers, such as wills and estate planning documents. If you know where the deceased did their banking, you can legally apply for access to their safe deposit box with an appointment at the bank.
Review bank statements.If you can access their bank statements, look for payments to an attorney. Research what kind of services that law office makes, or call them directly. If they offer estate planning services, they will be able to discuss the matters of the will with the executor named in the will. If this is not you, they will be getting in touch with whoever that person is.
Ask relatives and friends.If they did not share the details of their will with you, it is likely they spoke about it with someone. Ask those close to them if they know about the whereabouts of the will. It is common for people to give others a copy of their estate planning documents, in case one were to go missing.
Inquire with the court.Oftentimes people will file an original will with a clerk after it has been drafted. The courts may have also already contacted the named executor. If they have, the will has already gone into probate. Learn more about the probate process here.
Once the will is located, the executor will be responsible for settling the estate according to the instructions in the will. Once a will is filed to a probate court, it becomes public record, which makes the process easier for those listed in the will but who are not the executor. If you or a family member needs assistance setting up a will, Garland Law Office can help. Call us today with any questions you or your family may have.