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What to do if a will has been lost, damaged or destroyed?

Damaged or Destroyed Wills

Where a will has been lost, damaged or destroyed an application can be made to court for evidence of the will’s contents to be accepted in place of the original will.

A Will does not take effect until death and generally speaking, can be changed or revoked at any time. A Will can be revoked by destruction by the person making the will.

Therefore, when a Will which was known to be in the deceased person’s possession cannot be found upon their death it raises the question: has it been lost or destroyed?

In these circumstances there is a presumption that the Will has been destroyed with the intention to revoke it. However, in some circumstances evidence of the person’s intentions can be put forward and accepted in place of the will. 

An example of this is where a will was destroyed in an air raid and there was evidence remaining of its contents.
It is up to those seeking to benefit under the lost will to prove that the person did not intend to revoke it.
Where a Will has been lost, or destroyed for some other reason, for example if it has been lost by a solicitor accidentally, an application can be made to the Court for documentary evidence of its contents to be accepted in its place. 

This can include, but is not limited to, a copy or completed draft. 

Lost Wills 

We are frequently instructed by people who know there was a will, but cannot find it.

There are various methods we can use and various places (including national databases) we can check, in order to try to find the will.


Want to know more, contact Martyn Trenerry or read below.

 

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