“Information Bits from the Boss: Samantha provides brief answers to clients frequently asked questions”
What if at my death, my beneficiaries cannot locate my original Will?
This is an important question, because typically when going through the probate process the court is going to ask for the original will. You do need to produce the original will to probate. If for some reason you are unable to locate the original will then there are a couple of options. The first is that I always encourage you to reach out to the attorney that you think may have drafted the will just to see if they do have an original will in his or her possession. The second thing is to consider whether or not the decedent did have a safe deposit box. Sometimes we have people who keep the original will in the safe deposit box. Under Pennsylvania law you can enter a safe deposit box in order to find the original will. To the extent that you can exercise those options to find the original will I always encourage our beneficiaries and executors to do that. If you are still unable to locate the original will, Pennsylvania does allow you to petition to probate a copy of the original will, and that just means where you may have a signed copy, but you don’t have the will that has the wet signatures. It does make it a little more time consuming to probate because there are a couple more steps you have to take to probate. Keep your original will in a safe place so your executor does know where your original will is located. It always makes it much easier in the probate process if we do have the original will. If you have additional questions, please contact our office.