what is the penalty for not filing a will with the courts?
2 Answers from Attorneys
Anyone who possesses the original will of a decedent is under a duty to file. Technically, not filing can be prosecuted as a felony. I have personally never seen such a case, but it could happen if somebody were to deliberately hide and destroy the original will of a known decedent (especially if the hiding of the will was to their financial benefit). Bottom line: don't do it. File the will. The statute says within 30 days, but there is no problem with filing after 30 days, it happens all the time. I've had clients come in with wills for decedents from many years earlier. They didn't realize they needed it to file it. We filed it at that point, no problem.
Mr. Gottlieb's answer is right on. If you are referring to another person's failure, then I suggest you have an attorney send a letter advising the person in possession that there is the obligation to file and a possibility of criminal prosecution. You may also initiate probate proceedings.
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