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Where do I start to find a deceased person's will? Do I need an attorney person's residing state? If will/assets were stolen?

Topeka, KS |

A family has passed near one month ago. I reside in a different state. The passed family member did have a will or multiple wills along with multiple properties/bank accounts/ cars/ property. The will has been stolen from her estate. Where do I look to find the will? Do I need an attorney in their residing state? What is to happen to the person who took the will and is distributing property against the deceased person's wishes? I have been granted inheritance from life insurance, but property that was discussed is being taken by other family members.

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Attorney answers 4


I'm sorry to hear you're having these issues. I would start by calling your loved one's attorney - many attorneys keep originals or copies of the will. If you don't know who your loved one's attorney is, you could call estate planning attorneys in your area, or ask your loved one's friends (if that is possible) if they know who her attorney is.

If the will was truly stolen, you find the new one and you can prove what happened, you should be able to get the property transfers undone, assuming that that property has not disappeared. The person who did it could possibly face civil and/or criminal penalties. If I were you, I would consult a probate attorney in your family member's area as soon as possible before anything else happens. Good luck!


I am sorry for your loss. Attorney White is correct. Many times, the attorney who prepares a will keeps the original in his or her law firm's fire-proof vault. Accordingly, although a copy may be destroyed, the original may still be in existence. If the search seems overwhelming, your best bet is to retain an attorney in your loved one's jurisdiction to provide assistance. Good luck to you.

This information is presented as a public service. It should not be construed to be formal legal advice nor considered to be the formation of a lawyer/client relationship. I am licensed in Connecticut and New York and my answers are based upon the law in those jurisdictions. My answer to any specific question would likely be different if I were to review a client's file and have the opportunity to interview the client. Accordingly, I strongly urge you to retain an attorney in your jurisdiction with respect to any legal matter.


I agree with the other attorneys. You will also want to do everything possible to find the original will; ie the copy that the family member actually signed. This will be the only version that can be submitted to probate absent court approval - and even then, only if there are no objections from other family members.

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


I agree with my colleagues. I would simply add that, in response to your comment that "property that was discussed is being taken by other family members," I assume you are talking about personal items and household effects. Titled assets would not be accessible to anyone other than the executor or administrator for the estate. It is not clear from your summary whether an estate is open or not. Until an estate is open, you may not be able to prevent this kind of "looting." I would meet with a probate attorney in the estate where decedent resided, in order to determine how best to proceed.

James Frederick

***Please be sure to mark if you find the answer "helpful" or a "best" answer. Thank you! I hope this helps. ***************************************** LEGAL DISCLAIMER I am licensed to practice law in the State of Michigan and have offices in Wayne and Ingham Counties. My practice is focused in the areas of estate planning and probate administration. I am ethically required to state that the above answer does not create an attorney/client relationship. These responses should be considered general legal education and are intended to provide general information about the question asked. Frequently, the question does not include important facts that, if known, could significantly change the answer. Information provided on this site should not be used as a substitute for competent legal advice from a licensed attorney that practices in your state. The law changes frequently and varies from state to state. If I refer to your state's laws, you should not rely on what I say; I just did a quick Internet search and found something that looked relevant that I hoped you would find helpful. You should verify and confirm any information provided with an attorney licensed in your state. I hope you our answer helpful!

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