Where do I find the original will?

There is no central place where wills are filed before a person dies. It is a private document until the person who made it has passed away. Ideally, the testator already provided a copy of the will to his or her named personal representative before passing away, but this does not always happen. It is in the best interest of a person close to someone passing away to ask if he or she has made a will and where it is.

Very often, the original will is found in a safety deposit box belonging to the person who died.  Sometimes the original will is held by the law office that drafted the will. But sometimes locating the decedent’s will can take some creative searching. A close relative may need to search through the deceased persons personal records and documents in order to try to locate the name of the decedent’s attorney. Other relatives and friends might be needed to provide ideas as to where the deceased person stored important files and documents.

After the will is located, it will be filed with the probate court. Once the original will has been filed with the probate court, it becomes a public record and one can obtain a copy from the clerk of court’s office.

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