What happens if a will cannot be found?

Missing Wills raise all sorts of interesting legal issues which often turn on the specific facts and circumstances, and the law of the state in which the deceased resided.

The Will may be missing because the deceased intentionally revoked it, in which case, depending on state law, an earlier Will or the state’s rules on intestate succession would determine who gets the deceased’s estate.

Alternatively, the Will may be missing because it can be proven the Will was stored in a bank vault that was destroyed in an explosion and fire. In that case, the probate court may accept a photocopy of the Will (or the lawyer’s draft or computer file), together with evidence that the deceased duly signed the original.