What if I lost my will or forgot where it is?

| Dec 18, 2017 | Blog |

Wills are such important documents that it seems unlikely you could make one and then lose it or forget where it is. Yet it happens to many people. For example, they make a will, put it in a “secret” space in their home and move 10 years later, forgetting the will is there. Or they put it in furniture that is sold many years down the road.

So, what happens if you realize one day that you lost your will or have forgotten where it is?

It is still valid

Assuming your will was valid in the first place, it is likely still valid unless a new one replaces it. So, that will gathering dust in a cardboard box sitting in the attic of a home you owned 20 years ago could still be valid if there has not been a new document in the meantime. Often, a will that old is out of sync with what you would want now. The whole thing could end up being a non-issue if no one thinks to search that house, but interested parties may indeed come up with the idea of looking in your old properties.

The validity of the will means you risk your estate being taken care of in a way you would not want it to be. The alternative scenario is not much better: an old will that still details your wishes but that no one knows about or cannot find.

Make a new will

In many cases, your best bet when you have lost or forgotten a will is to make a new one, especially with language that revokes previous wills and codicils. This is true even if you have photocopies of the will, as courts like to see signed originals. There can be exceptions, of course, such as if an angry person tore up the original due to being disinherited and it can be proven.