If a deceased’s Will is not able to be located but their family is trying to make legal decisions and take things from the widow, what needs to happen to protect the estate?

Asked on February 16, 2015 under Estate Planning, Georgia


M.T.G., Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 5 years ago | Contributor

I am so sorry for your loss.  There are really two questions here so let's address them each.  If you can not locate an original Will and you have a copy then your state probate code has a method of offering the copy as the original and proving it is in fact a true copy.  If that is what you want to do then seek legal help.  Now, if there is no Will then the estate passes via intestacy and under Georgia law spouse and descendants equally share the intestate property, but the spouse’s share may not be less than 1/3.  Also, anything jointly owned goes to the spouse automatically not the kids.  It is unclear why you are trying to protect the assets from the widow here but I would seek legal help asap.  

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