What if You Can't Find a Copy Either?

If you have a photocopy of a will, and you can overcome the presumption of revocation, you're well on your way to establishing a lost will.  But what happens if you know the decedent had a will, you've looked everywhere, and you can't find a copy of the will either?

Believe it or not, you might not be out of luck.

Establishing a lost will without a copy will undoubtedly be an uphill battle.  As early as 1913, the Supreme Court of Virginia upheld a decision to probate a lost will without a copy when the contents of the will could be established and were not denied.  In another case from 1943, the lawyer who made a will testified that he didn't keep a copy but was able to reconstruct what it said.  The Supreme Court of Virginia thought that was enough for the lost will to be admitted to probate.

Benjamin P. Kyber
Richmond Appellate Law Attorney Serving Virginia, Henrico County.
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