When a loved one passes away, it is important to determine whether they had a valid will in place. This can be accomplished through a careful search for the document. If a will is located, it will guide the distribution of the decedent’s assets in accordance with their wishes. If no will is found, it may be concluded that the decedent passed away intestate, meaning that their assets will be distributed according to state laws.
There are several potential locations where a will may be found, including the decedent’s home or office, a safe deposit box at a bank or financial institution, with a trusted individual, or with the clerk of the court.
Decedent’s Home or Office
Starting with the decedent’s home or office is a logical first step in the search for a will. Common storage locations such as filing cabinets, desk drawers, and spiritual books should be checked. It’s possible that the testator carefully hid the will, so some ingenuity may be required to locate it.
Decedent’s Safe Deposit Box
Another location to check is the decedent’s safe deposit box. Many states have statutes that allow for relatively rapid access to the safe deposit box in order to locate important documents such as the will, as well as other important papers like a burial plot deed or life insurance policies.
It’s also possible that the testator transferred possession of the will to someone they trusted, such as a family member, close friend, the person named as the executor, or the attorney who drafted the will. State laws usually require anyone in possession of a decedent’s will to turn it over to the court or someone who intends to probate the will.
Clerk of the Court
Finally, some states permit a testator to deposit their will with the clerk of the court for safekeeping. The clerk files the will in a secure location and then turns it over to an authorized person or the court upon the testator’s death.
In conclusion, locating a will can take some effort, but by starting with the common places where a will might be found, such as the decedent’s home or office, a safe deposit box, or with a trusted individual, and ultimately the court if all other options are exhausted, you can eventually locate the will and ensure that the decedent’s assets are distributed according to their wishes.
Our Dallas Probate Attorneys provide a full range of probate services to our clients, including helping with last wills and testaments. Probate is what we do. Affordable rates, fixed fees, and payment plans are available. We provide step-by-step instructions, guidance, checklists, and more for completing the probate process.We have years of combined experience we can use to support and guide you with probate and estate matters. Call us today for a FREE attorney consultation.
Disclaimer: The content of this website is for informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice. The information presented may not apply to your situation and should not be acted upon without consulting a qualified probate attorney. We encourage you to seek the advice of a competent attorney with any legal questions you may have.