Due to the very nature of the document, Wills are usually written a number of years before they are needed. Although this is good practice - all adults with even the smallest amount of assets should have a Will - it also means that there is a long period of time during which they can get mislaid, lost or destroyed. Dealing with the estate of a loved one can be difficult enough, but when a situation like having a lost Will arises, the skill and experience of a specialised lawyer can make a world of difference in any ensuing inheritance dispute.
Contact Oratto today and we can connect you instantly with a member probate lawyer who is adept in this field. If you think that a Will has gone astray, it is important to seek legal assistance from an expert as soon as possible as there are a number of implications should the Will be permanently lost. The member lawyers featured in this section of Oratto all have experience of dealing with lost or destroyed Wills. They will understand the pertinent issues at hand and will be able to guide you through the necessary processes to ensure the estate is administered without too much complication.
First things first
The very first thing to be established is whether the Will is actually lost or has simply been put somewhere unexpected (around 58% of adults do not know the whereabouts of their closest relative's Will). If it is lost then there is an automatic presumption that it has been destroyed. In this instance it is down to the beneficiaries to prove that it was destroyed and not in fact revoked. It will need to be fully established that the Will falls into one of the following criteria; that it is either:
- lost permanently
- otherwise simply not available
Once this has been done, there are options open to apply to the probate registry section of the Court for other evidence to be accepted in place of the lost Will. These would be:
- a valid draft of the missing Will
- a straightforward copy of it
- other paperwork demonstrating the intentions of the deceased towards their estate
Finding guidance when a Will is lost
At Oratto we understand that situations such as this can be difficult, especially in the immediate aftermath of the death of a loved one. It's vital that you receive proper legal support and guidance so the situation can be resolved swiftly and amicably. Oratto member probate lawyers can help to resolve the problem through discussion and negotiation and thereby remove the need for a more formal approach through the Court. If, ultimately, there is no valid Will or accepted alternative, then the rules of intestacy will apply.
Oratto member solicitors can minimise stress and costs to help you reach a favourable conclusion swiftly. Contact us today to take the first step towards resolving the situation where a Will has been lost or destroyed.