Can’t Find the Will? Hire a Probate Lawyer in Chicago
The death of a loved one is a stressful time, and the last thing you will think about is their will. Even if such thoughts are secondary to the pain you’re feeling, you should begin dealing with the estate as soon as you can. Filing the will with a local probate court is the first step, but that cannot take place if you don’t know where the document can be found.
Where to Look for the Will
Most people are consistent as to how they handle important documents. Think about the deceased’s habits–did they like easy access to important papers, or did they keep them in a certain spot? These are some of the places people store their wills:
1. In the office: A filing cabinet, fire safe or desk drawer are all places to start, especially if your family member had good organizational skills.
2. Safe deposit boxes: Some states seal these boxes when the content holder dies. If you believe that your relative’s will may be in such a location, the Law Office of Starr, Bejgiert, Zink & Rowells may be able to help you get an order to have it opened.
3. With an attorney: If the will was drafted with the help of a Probate Lawyer. That person may have a copy, or even the original.
4. On a hard drive: Many wills are now digitally created, and you may be able to find a copy. It won’t have the cachet of the original, but it can prove the document’s existence.
Drawers and closets are less-obvious places to look. If you’ve looked seemingly everywhere, ask other relatives for suggestions. The deceased may have told someone else where the will was hidden.
Uncommon Hiding Places
People are all different, and may not use the same logic in the storage of important documents. Places that might seem odd now may have made sense to your family member. Search under the floorboards, in the freezer, and even with your local probate court. Some jurisdictions allow people to file wills while still living.
Despite your best efforts, in some situations the will may never be found. Even if you cannot find a copy of the deceased’s will, you may be able to prove existence through other factors such as codicils, itemized property lists, and will-signing witnesses.