How do I establish legal executorship?

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How do I establish legal executorship?

I do not have the original Will. I only have a copy that the testator gave me and I have not been able to find the original. Also, my last name is different in the Will (I married after I signed the Will).

Asked on November 2, 2011 under Estate Planning, Washington

Answers:

M.D., Member, California and New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

Courts may accept a copy of a Will if the original will cannot be located. Each state has various requirements regarding accepting a copy of a Will into probate. However, the general rule is that if a Will cannot be found, it is presumed that it was destroyed. This presumption can be rebutted if there is proof: of the substance and contents of the Will; that the testator (i.e. maker) did not intend to destroy or revoke it; that it was made validly executed; and that the it cannot be found after a due and proper search.

As for your name change due to marriage, this is not substantial enough circumsytance to cause you to be eliminated as executor.

At this point you should consult directly with a probate attorney in your area as to your rights and/or remedies.


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