What can be one regarding a missing Will?

UPDATED: Jan 20, 2014

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What can be one regarding a missing Will?

My grandfather passed away last year and at the time of his death had been living with a woman for 30 years (not married). About 28 years ago, he signed a Will stating that everything in his estate went to her. Then 2 years ago, he made another Will, which he put it into his safe box. A week before he died the woman he was living with had him put her name on his bank accounts, which had upwards of $55,000. My grandfather tried to have alone time with all of us but the woman never left him alone with us. When he was finally alone with my father, my grandfather told him what he wanted done with his estate and where his Will was. However, when my grandfather died the most recent Will disappeared; the only Will to be found was the original one which left everything to her.

Asked on January 20, 2014 under Estate Planning, Utah


S.L,. Member, California Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

Sorry to hear about your grandfather.

A petition should be filed with the Probate Court contesting (challenging) the validity of the original revoked Will based on undue influence of the woman who lived with your grandfather and your father's testimony about your grandfather's intent regarding his missing Will.   

When a Will is lost, evidence should be established that the prior Will was revoked; otherwise it is still in effect. 

Evidence (based on your grandfather's intent of how his estate was to be distributed) that the prior Will was revoked and the undue influence of the woman with whom he lived  will result in the estate going to your grandfather's heirs. If evidence of your grandfather's intentiions regarding his estate is not proved, then the lost Will will result in the estate going to your grandfather's heirs by intestate succession.  Intestate succession means dying without a Will. 

Under intestate succession, the woman with whom your grandfather lived inherits nothing because she and your grandfather were not married. 

Under intestate succession, the entire estate would go to the surviving spouse.  Since your grandfather did not have a surviving spouse, the entire estate would go to his children.  If your father is the only child of your grandfather, he would inherit the entire estate.  If your father has brothers and sisters, your grandfather's estate would be divided equally among your grandfather's children.  If there is a deceased child, who had children (your grandfather's grandchildren), they would inherit their deceased parent's share.

For example, if your grandfather had three children, each child would inherit 1/3.  If your grandfather had three children and one is deceased who has one surviving child (grandchild), that surviving grandchild would inherit the 1/3 share of the estate his deceased parent would have inherited.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although AttorneyPages.com has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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