What is considered to be a legal Will?

UPDATED: Feb 15, 2012

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What is considered to be a legal Will?

My mother just passed away and I gave her guardian a copy of the Will that I obtain from the attorney who wrote it. I’m told I need to furnish the original but all I can find is where it’s signed; there is no stamp on it. The attorney said if I wanted to hire him he can furnish the witnesses and a video of my mother making her Will. Is this the only option I have?

Asked on February 15, 2012 under Estate Planning, Texas


M.T.G., Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

I am so sorry for your loss.  A legal Will must be an originally executed document that is signed by at least one but generlly two attesting witnesses.  Now, a copy of a Will can be offered for probate if it can be proven that it is an exact replica of the original (usually through affidavits of the attesting witnesees, etc.)  But this attorney is not playing fair. In fact, he is bordering on unethical becuase it sounds as if he is blackmailing you to use him in order to prove the copy of the Will.  Consult with another attorney.  The court can issue a subpoena as to his file.  Good luck.

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