Sometimes when a family member or loved one with a will passes away, a copy of the will is unable to be located. This is likely to cause confusion and panic; however, rest assured that there are plenty of available ways to locate a lost will.
Many people may not be aware of the U.S. Will Registry, which is a publicly available database of all registered wills. If a will has been registered with this database, information on the wills location and any attorney involved in the will drafting is available.
Other available options
If the will is not registered, there are several other ways to try to locate a lost will. It is always a good idea to check with the person’s family and friends to see if they have any idea where the will is located. A contact person from a nursing home can also be a great resource if the person resided there prior to passing away.
Review all documents belonging to the person that are available to you, and if you have no luck with that, check different places that person may have stored the will. These can include cabinets, closets, safes or drawers.
If the person had a regular attorney that they used for estate planning or other legal issues, contact that attorney. If the attorney can’t be located, check with the county’s bar association for information on the attorney’s whereabouts. Checking with the person’s bank to see if they had a safety deposit box can also yield answers as to a will’s location.
If all these methods have been attempted with no results or clues, contacting the probate court where the person lived to see if a will was filed. A probate attorney can be helpful in situations involving a lost will. They can provide information on additional methods to locate the will, next steps and available options.