I need to have a copy of a Will probated. How can I do it?
2 Answers from Attorneys
Generally you can't. ORIGINALS of wills are probated, not copies. There is a presumption that if you can't find the original that the testator destroyed it, which revokes the will.
In some RARE cases, with legal help and unusual facts, a copy might be probated. The answer in those rare cases is that you need a lawyer.
I agree with Attorney Ashman. It is possible to probate a copy in some circumstances. But since none of the attorneys have reviewed what you have or why the original does not exist, this is not the proper forum to discuss the matter.
You need to consult a probate attorney in the county/state where the will would be filed. The attorney needs to review the copy of the will and see why the original does not exist. The attorney also needs to see whether it would make more sense to probate this as an intestate estate if the copy cannot be probated. It may not justify the time and expense of trying to probate the copy when the same result will occur under the intestacy law. But you will only know this after you consult an attorney.
If you really cannot afford an attorney, you can take the copy to the probate court and talk with the probate clerk/register of wills to see what they advise. However, the court will not provide legal advice as a general rule, so you would be better served by paying an attorney for a 30-60 minute consult.
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