Probating a Lost Will

Probate involves the filing of a deceased person’s Last Will & Testament with a court. In some instances, though, heirs cannot locate the original Will. What can be done if the original Will is lost? Is there a way to probate a lost Will?

When heirs cannot find the original Will, the legal presumption is that the decedent revoked it. That presumption, however, is a rebuttable one.

Texas does allow heirs to probate a lost Will. To do so, they must:

  1. Prove that there was a valid Will.
  2. Provide evidence as to why they cannot produce the original Will. This evidence must be adequate to rebut the presumption that the deceased person revoked the Will.
  3. Provide proof of the contents of the original Will. Credible witnesses who read the Will or heard the reading of the Will can testify as to the contents of the Will. Witnesses who saw the original Will can testify that a copy of the Will accurately represents the content of the Will they saw.

If you have a loved one die and you know that person had a Will, but you cannot locate it, don’t despair. A qualified and experienced probate attorney can advise you on the best course of action for settling the estate.

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