Legal Question in Wills and Trusts in Indiana

Copies of wills

My wife's mother died recently, apparently intestate. My wife, her only biological child, has been appointed executor. A stepbrother claims he has a copy of an old will drawn up when his father and my wife's mother were married which appoints him executor. Is the photocopy considered to be legal and binding if the original cannot be located?

Asked on 8/18/02, 10:16 pm

1 Answer from Attorneys

Mary Ann Wunder Wunder & Wunder

Re: Copies of wills

If a person has a will when married and later gets divorced, the will is still in effect except that the court will disregard any provisions for the spouse. However, to probate a will, the original must be produced or the person claiming the will is still valid must prove that the original was accidently lost and that the decedent did not have reason to revoke it, and since mother's will was not found and he has only a copy of what the plan was during the marriage of mother to his father, it is unlikely that he would prevail. I assume that if your wife has been appointed personal representative of her mother's estate that she has a lawyer. You need to address your questions to him, as he needs to know that someone is out there claiming there is a will in order to protect your wife's interests.

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Answered on 8/19/02, 10:46 am

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