Tips for Finding a Lost Will

Kyle E. Krull’s blog has a good article about lost wills. Click here to read the article. Here are some highlights:

  • Check to see if the will has already been admitted to “probate” with the probate court in the county where your loved one resided at death. If an attorney or other family member had the original (or knew where to find it), then he or she may have filed it already. Wills become public documents once filed.
  • Check to see if there is a safe deposit box owned by your loved one. Oftentimes wills and other important legal and financial documents are kept there.
  • Review the checkbook or bank statements of your loved one for any fees paid to an estate planning attorney. Striking gold here may mean finding the attorney who will either have the original will and/or trust or at least a signed copy.
  • Look for any business cards or correspondence with a financial advisor who may know the attorney if not the location of the legal documents.
  • Contact the accountant, too. Tax returns and account statements could have helpful information.
  • Perhaps your loved one hid the legal documents. This would not be the first time. For example, I have clients who keep their original documents in the freezer.
  • Reach out to relatives and close friends. Perhaps they know whether your loved one ever consulted an estate planning attorney or a financial advisor. They may have referred your loved one to their own attorney or financial advisor.

Stick tap to the Wills, Trusts, and Estates Prof Blog for pointing out the article.


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