Unfortunately a lot of people misplace their will, and/or trust, before they die. They know it’s important and thus hire a California estate planning attorney to draft the necessary documents. After they sign their documents their lawyer often gives them the original to put in a safe place. Then what….
Well, that’s the $64,000 question of course. Put it in a safe or fire box? Put it in the bank safe deposit box? Leave it with the lawyer? Give it a friend? There are so many options and thus so many possibilities of where the document might be after death.
If you can’t find a loved one’s will here are some thoughts:
1) Check the real estate records to see if the house is in a trust. An attorney, with access to title records, can look into this for you.
2) Contact local attorneys and ask if they have a will for the person (best in a small town).
3) Check the probate Court to see a will was filed there.
4) Look through the decedent’s bank records to see if they paid an attorney money.
5) Of course, go through every single document in the house. Look in strange places because I have heard of many stories of wills being found in the most unique places.
If you can’t find a will then consider filing without a will. This works best if you are next of kin of course.
Let’s chat about the process and what your options are! Contact me. -John