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Can I turn in the older version of a will of a close family member if the newer one is not available?

Rock Hill, SC |

My uncle recently passed away, and no one has access to his newer will and testament. However, there is a slightly older will that he made and I have access to. Because this is the only will and testament left to turn in, can I turn in the older one, or does the newer version (even though it is completely unobtainable) nullify it?

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Attorney answers 3


Under general circumstances, the execution of a will would usually (not always) revoke any and all prior wills, and nothing would revive the revoked will. The problem here is the proof that any revocation took place, and there is nothing in the facts to show what proof there is that there ever was any "lost" will, whether or not it was destroyed (revoked) by the testator, or what its contents were. If the assets are significant and the difference between intestate (no will) succession and the perceived content of the lost will are significant, this could be a very difficult issue. You should consult with experienced probate counsel in the county of the decedent's last residence.
Disclaimer: California attorney Robert Miller has practiced for over 45 years and restricts his practice to real estate and probate matters in the Central District of Los Angeles. Any opinion expressed is for general informational purposes only, no attorney-client relationship is intended or created by this answer, and no action or inaction should be contemplated without first employing and consulting with a competent attorney convenient to the questioner.


File the will and then let the Court decide which will is to be recognized.

Legal disclaimer: This answer does not constitute legal advice. I am admitted to practice law in the State of Missouri only, and make no attempt to opine on matters of law that are not relevant to Missouri. This answer is based on general principles of law that may or may not relate to your specific situation, and is for promotional purposes only. You should never rely on this answer alone and nothing in these communications creates an attorney-client relationship. less


Is the newer will unobtainable because it is in a safe deposit box with only the deceased's name on the box? Whether or not that is the case, the probate case needs to be opened so the process can start working. Once someone is named personal representative, that person can search for other documents as well as assets. The will you have may not be the one that ultimately rules the day, but it should be filed. Seek out local probate counsel to guide you.

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