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What should I do if I am filing an estate but the client does not have the signed original will?

Rochester, MI |

filing an estate but client does not have original signed will

Attorney Answers 3


You can petition the court to take the copy and use that. It helps if you can get the lawyer who prepared it to say that it is a true copy of the one he prepared (it is a special affidavit that we often prepare in these circumstance) or one of the witnesses to say that it is a copy of the document that they witnessed the person signing. You might also check with your local probate court to see if the original was filed with them. You can do that for a small fee, so they could actually already have it. Good luck!

I am licensed to practice in Michigan, but this is general advice and you should consult your own attorney before taking any further actions.

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Lynnmarie A. Johnson

Lynnmarie A. Johnson


The small fee is for filing the will with the court, not for you checking with them, just thought I'd clarify that.


The court generally accepts a photocopy of the will with the testimony of one of the heirs. A hearing will have to be scheduled and you have to open formally as opposed to informally with an Application. I have handled these before where the photocopy is allowed to stand in for the original; it is usually pretty easy to get it in if the right questions are asked.

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I agree fully with the other attorneys. Absent an objection from another interested heir a court will likely accept a copy of a Last Will.

Matthew Johnson phone# 206.747.0313 is licensed in the State of Washington and performs bankruptcy, short sale negotiations, and estate planning in Whatcom, Skagit, Snohomish, King and Pierce counties. The response does not constitute specific legal advice, which would require a full inquiry by the attorney into the complete background of the facts and circumstances surrounding this matter; rather, it is intended to be general legal information based on the limited information provided by the inquirer; it This response also does not constitute the establishment of an attorney-client relationship, which can only be established after a conflict of interest evaluation is completed, your case is accepted, and a fee agreement is signed. Johnson Legal Group, PLLC

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