WHERE THERE'S A WILL,
There's A Way, for Those Left Behind, to Find Peace Of Mind!
Finding Out If a Will Exists

Find Out If a Will Exists

To find out if a will exist after a loved one’s passing can be an overwhelming task for grieving family and friends. Most people don’t think about this until pending obligations. These include the division of estates, repayment of debts, and other financial matters take priority. Instances like these make finding existing wills necessary.

Typically an executor (i.e., an attorney or loved one appointed by the deceased) initiates the probate process. They disclose how the deceased wanted to distribute assets in an estate. If a person fails to appoint an executor or does not have proper estate plans, the court supervises estate administration. It’s done according to the intestate succession law (aka inheritance law).

Without a will, the probate process can be tedious and complicated. Plus, there are times when the deceased might have hidden the will. Knowing this, you should search hard to find out if the original will exist before considering the intestate succession law.

This article shares some practical ways for finding out if a will exists:

1. Search the Deceased’s House and Safety Deposit

Wills are never kept in plain sight. These documents can be difficult to find if the deceased hid them from prying eyes. That’s why you should not restrict yourself to home offices and bedrooms.

Instead, search every nook and cranny of the late loved one’s house to search.

These can include:

  • Boxes under the bed or files under the mattress
  • Inside the pantry, freezers or storage rooms
  • Hidden in a secret drawer or compartment
  • Wedged under the floorboard
  • In an antique box shoved somewhere in the attic
  • Old suitcases and storage spaces

The odds are that you might uncover these important documents in the unlikeliest places (and amidst everyday possessions). Hence, you should never lose hope and continue searching for the will.

What if it’s not inside the house?

Contact the decedent’s bank(s) to find out if the decedent kept a safe deposit.  Your loved one might have kept the original document, duplicates, or information relevant to its location inside the safe deposit. Accessing it can eventually help you uncover their last wishes.

2. Ask Close Family and Friends

You might feel uncomfortable discussing the details of your loved ones’ final wishes soon after you lose them, but these conversations have to happen. There’s a chance that someone within the deceased’s intimate social circle already knows about the will.

Most of the time, people inform family members or close friends about the location of their will. Alternatively, they might hand over the original documents (or duplicates) to someone trustworthy for safekeeping.

Therefore, often friends and family have helped to find if a will exist. Search contacts in iphone, and online connections to ensure you have covered the basics.

How Does It Work?

The general public (or their attorneys) can register on the online platform. The registry secures information about:

  • When the will was drafted
  • Where the will is kept
  • Who has the will
  • Designated family members who can access the registry

Besides this, individuals interested in creating soft copies of the original documents can do so with a feature service called SideDrawer.com. They can save the document on their online database to ensure surviving loved ones can access the copy of the original documents that get misplaced.  Online storage is what attorneys are now using to store copies of wills.

These details remain protected until the testator (i.e., owner of the will) passes away.

Find Out if a Will Exist in the National Will Registry

The U.S. Will Registry has an official website that contains a “Missing Will Search” option.  This feature allows you to search for wills that have been written back to 1967.   Information need for a search is the: decedent’s name, date of birth, and residential state.

How Does a Will Registry Work?

The general public (or their attorneys) can register (Free) on the online platform. The registry secures information about:

    • When the will was drafted
    • Where the will is kept
    • Who has the will
    • Designated family members who can access the registry

Besides this, individuals interested in creating soft copies (Duplicate) of the original documents can do so with a feature service called SideDrawer.com. Saving the document in an online database (iCloud Storage) ensures that surviving loved ones can access the copy of the  document that gets misplaced.  Online storage is what attorneys are now using to store all copies of their clients wills.

These details remain protected until the testator (i.e., owner of the will) passes away.

4. Ask an Attorney

Sometimes trying to find if a will exist might require a third party. If the house search, discussions with confidants, and online will registry doesn’t work, you may want to consult a probate attorney.

Note: Sometimes, people choose different attorneys for estate planning. This person will come forward as soon as they become aware of the decedent’s demise.  Publishing obituaries and announcing the demise of a loved one can ensure that this happens as soon as possible.

5. Finding Existing Wills Through Public Records

A court clerk files wills after a person dies, not before since the terms and conditions frequently get altered during their lifetime. Sometimes an unknown executor might start the probate procedure without notifying you. In these instances, the original document might already be in the public record.

How to retrieve this information?

Firstly, list places the decedent resided in as the county’s probate court because the executor will submit the original documents. Next, you can either check the public records by visiting the relevant courthouse, contact a probate clerk for information or use the official court website for your search.

Online portals and probate clerks will ask the first and last name of the deceased with the date of birth to collect relevant details from the docket. This discloses the case number, representative names,  and legal advisors involved in the probate if it’s in process. Alternatively, these resources will only tell you whether or not a will exists.

Do note that you may pay a copying fee to access the complete details of a registered will.

As a last resort, you can continue your online search by monitoring the clerk of court website. Use it to find out when the probate opens or filed when the records become public. You can ask the probate court to notify you when someone registers the will. Apply for state-compliant notice (i.e. caveat) to suspend legal proceedings on open probate unless you get notified.

Parting Words: Simple Solutions for Finding Existing Wills

Be tactful, seek  help from loved ones, and learn how the legal system works for finding existing wills. The U.S Will Registry increases accessibility with its easy-to-use calculator.  Use it to locate registered wills (and associated information) within minutes. If things don’t go as planned, you can always consult the clerk of court. Legal advisors can provide regular updates on the relevant court proceedings.

Visit our website to learn more about will registrations.

Make it easy for loved ones to find your Last Will & Testament

Our national will database eases the burden placed on your loved ones. In fact, it’s been estimated that 67% of all wills are lost or misplaced.

 
The U.S. Will Registry has minimized this problem. Lifetime Registration of your Will is  FREE, easy, secure and remains confidential.  Copies of your will are not registered, only their location. Your papers remain securely in your possession.
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