What can be done if a Will cannot be located?

UPDATED: Jun 25, 2015

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What can be done if a Will cannot be located?

I have a friend who passed away 2 weeks ago. He made out a Will in 2 years ago and left me everything, plus named me the executor. The problem is that I never received a copy of the Will and am not sure where it is. I am not family so his family is not helpful in any way and won’t allow me in the house to look for it. I have tried to contact a few lawyers in his area but no luck. He died suddenly so things are not in order. I just want to carry out his wishes and I keep hitting a brick wall. I also know the house was in a Trust and I do have a few bank names but they cannot give me any information. What can I do?

Asked on June 25, 2015 under Estate Planning, Illinois


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

Answered 7 years ago | Contributor

I am so sorry for your loss.  Generally speaking, when a Will is lost a copy can be authenticated and submitted for Probate with an affidavit as to its contents and the wishes of the decedent and the witness affidavits. Do you know who the witnesses were to the Will?  Could they be helpful in locating the attorney that drafted the Will and/or testify as to its contents and the wishes of the decedent, your friend? If not then you have no rights here and his family has all the control.  You would have to file an objection to probate when they begin the proceedings.  Good luck to you.  

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