The loss or destruction of a person’s original Will can disrupt their best laid plans for avoiding ambiguity regarding their testamentary intentions. In Washington State, the common-law presumption that a lost or destroyed Will was intentionally revoked is known as animo revocandi (latin for “with intent to revoke”). When the original executed Will is unavailable, probating a will involves a complicated process made even more complicated by the fact that the testator is no longer present to clarify any confusion.
A number of factors must be considered before probating a copy of a lost or destroyed Will:
Was The Will Well Executed By A Testator?
The probate process can be difficult and time-consuming. To begin, you must determine if there was a valid Will and signed by a testator. To be valid, a will must meet certain criterias in Washington State:
- First it must be signed someone who is at least 18 years old and considered “of sound mind.”;
- The Will must be signed by the testator; * Next, there needs also exist two witnesses’ signatures OR a signed valid affidavit;
- Next, there needs also exist two witnesses’ signatures OR a signed valid affidavit.
If you believe one or more of the requirements haven’t been met, then the will may be considered invalid. In this case, it may be nice to contact a Will attorney in Washington State.
Was The Will Revoked By Testator?
Though the Will is lost or destroyed, there may be some evidence left behind that can help you probate your copy.
Otherwise, the assumption of the State of Washington is that the document was purposly revoked by a testator.
Was Sufficient Proof Provided?
To prove that the Will has been lost or destroyed, there are two hurdles you must overcome. First, you must to prove that the Will was not intentionally revoked by the testator.
In the absence of a photocopy, meeting this burden can be even more challenging. A considerable amount of additional circumstantial evidence will be required in these instances to meet the elevated burden of proof. Under evidence rules and statutory prohibitions commonly known as “deadman’s statute,” such circumstantial evidence is also subject to strict restrictions.
It may be a costly undertaking to rectify a lost or destroyed will if the steps of probate are incorrectly handled from the start. Ensure that all prerequisite steps are met by seeking legal assistance from an estate litigation attorney in Washington State.
Ask For Help Of A Probate Attorney In Spokane
You are probably wondering how to probate a lost or destroyed will. The process can be complicated, which could lead you to many errors that would cost precious time in solving this problem sooner rather than later! You should consider an attorney from Evergreen Elder Law as soon as possible. We can help guide you through every step. Contact us online or call (509) 325-5222