If you have to probate an estate with lost will in California, it is not an easy task. If a will is lost, specific facts, circumstances, and state law will decide which family members inherit the decedent’s assets. For example, if the will was revoked prior to the decedent’s death, and a new will did not replace it, an earlier will or the laws of intestate succession will determine who receives the decedent’s estate. If a will is missing because it was lost while in the possession of the decedent, a photocopy of the will may be admitted into probate. Read on to learn more about how to probate an estate with a lost will in California and how A People’s Choice can help you.
“The petition for probate of a lost or destroyed will shall include a written statement of the testamentary words or their substance. If the will is proved, the provisions of the will shall be set forth in the order admitting the will to probate.”
When attempting to probate an estate with lost will, the petitioner must provide enough evidence regarding the authenticity of the lost or duplicate will. A copy of the provisions of the will must be attached to the petition for probate. If the Petitioner can, in fact, prove that the lost or duplicate will is valid, it will be admitted into probate. A will is “proved” if validly prepared and executed under California state laws.
How to Prove a Lost or Duplicate Will
Proving the validity of a will depends on the type of will prepared. There are three types of wills: Attested Wills, Holographic Wills, and Statutory Wills. The testator must have been at least 18-years old when he/she prepared his will, held testamentary capacity, and properly signed the will in order for it to be proven valid.
Attested wills are self-proving so long as it is signed by a witness who was present when the testator signed the document. A holographic will (handwritten will) can be admitted into probate so long as an expert is able to confirm that it is, in fact, the testator’s handwriting. A statutory will is self-proving if it is signed in front of at least two witnesses.
Most importantly, the Petitioner will have to prove that the decedent did not intend to revoke his/her will. Even though the original will may be essentially lost, a duplicate original can sometimes be accepted if the court can be convinced that the testator simply misplaced the original will.
Contact A People’s Choice for more information on how to probate an estate with lost will in California. We can prepare all the legal forms you need to probate a lost will on your behalf.
Was this article helpful? We would love to know your thoughts! If you found this article helpful, please check the LIKE button below. Your feedback helps us plan topics for future articles.