In some cases you may be able to locate a photocopy of the Will but not the original signed copy. You will first have exhausted the various routes to seek to locate the Will.
If you make a Will, this means that any previous Wills are no longer valid. The difficulty where Wills have not been lodged with solicitors means that it can be necessary to confirm that the copy of the Will truly reflects the last Will of the deceased.
The process requires an oath to be sworn and submitted to the Probate Registry, outlining the consequences of the Will being either accepted or rejected (in which case the intestacy rules will apply). Depending on the level of uncertainty as to whether the Will is a true copy of the last Will, the copy may be accepted at this point (and Probate then continues as if it were the original Will).
If there is still any doubt, then it may be directed that the beneficiaries affected by the decision to accept the Will or not have to provide written consent to the Will being recognised.
If there is no agreement, it may be necessary for there to be a hearing to consider the merits of the copy Will.
If you are named as Executor, you should seek professional advice as to how to proceed with a photocopied Will to protect you from challenges from those named under its terms. Unless the inheritance position is identical under the terms of the Will and the intestacy rules, someone may have a grievance against you unless it is dealt with (and you can show that it was dealt with) properly. Don’t leave yourself open to challenge.
If you would like to discuss your situation with one of our specialist Wills and Probate solicitors please contact us today to arrange an appointment.
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