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Probating a Misplaced Will in Illinois

Illinois probate law, Illinoisestat attorneyThe end of someone’s life is emotional. Sometimes, loved ones spend as much time as possible enjoying the time remaining. Often the last thing families may think about is the location of the will. Once the decedent passes, there may be a detailed search through the home to locate the will that your loved one discussed. Perhaps someone even mentioned seeing the document and having read it at one time. Without the will available, how can your loved one’s final wishes come to fruition? Loss of the will can result in a probate litigation situation.

Seeing Is Believing

Although it is true that the probate process is significantly easier with the existence of a will, it is not necessary. If the will is not able to be found, the presumption is the will was revoked and not replaced. There is no legal process to revoke a will; the benefactor simply needs to destroy the original copy, and the document is no longer valid. However, under certain circumstances, it is possible to probate a non-revoked will. There must be clear and convincing evidence that the original will is valid, although not present.

Overcoming Presumptuous Assumptions

The presumption is the law with regards to a will unless there are extenuating circumstances to lead the court to believe otherwise. Examples of one of these rare occasions include:

  • Evidentiary proof that the home was the storage location of the document and both the home and owner perished together, such as in a fire or environmental disaster,
  • Evidence of the will’s creation, as well as the storage location, being somewhere other than the home but it is not longer there, or
  • Proof that destruction of the will occurred after the testator’s death, which is prosecutable as a Class 3 felony.

Alternate Copies

In our current day-in-age, society is moving progressively towards the world of paperless everything. Although it saves the trees at the same time as cutting down on clutter, there are instances in which a digital copy just does not function the same. Wills and other documents are such occasions. However, if the heirs and legatees are identical, they may petition to allow admittance of the copy. The process of requesting the admittance of a copy is made easier with the assistance of an attorney. If you find yourself in the predicament in which you the will is lost are interested in finding out the options for your particular situation, contact a Chicago, IL probate litigation attorney today by calling the Law Offices of Anthony R. Scifo at 847-628-8305 to set up your risk-free first consultation.

 

Source:

http://www.ilga.gov/legislation/ilcs/ilcs4.asp?DocName=075500050HArt.+IV&ActID=2104&ChapterID=60&SeqStart=5300000&SeqEnd=6750000

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