Probate of Lost/Spoliated Wills

  1. Decedent died and believed to have left no probate assets. However, decedent left a trust and the attorney for the trustee recommended that the Will not be filed for probate. Several years later, the attorney died and the trustee found assets that needed to be administered through the estate and Will. The office of the deceased attorney could not locate the original Will. Following trial on the probate of the lost/spoliated Will of the decedent, the court admitted the lost Will to probate allowing for the assets to be properly administered in accordance with the terms of the Will.
  2. Represented trustee for suit in action to probate the lost/spoliated Will of the decedent. Following trial, the court admitted the lost Will even though it was alleged that the Will had been destroyed by the decedent with the intent to revoke it.
  3. Represented daughter in an effort to probate lost or spoliated Will of the decedent. The daughter had been named a beneficiary under the last Will of the decedent but the mother, who was the sole beneficiary in a predecessor Will, objected to the probate of the lost Will. Following trial, the probate court admitted the lost Will to probate even though it was alleged that the decedent destroyed the Last Will and Testament with the intent to revoke.
  4. Successful in having the Probate Court admit a Last Will and Testament found cut up into equal pieces apparently using a paper-cutter. We were able to put the will back together making every word and signature on the will readable and legible. However, it was arguable that the cut-up will qualified as destroyed or spoliated and therefore would not be proper for probate. There was evidence that the will was cut-up after the decedent's death by a friend disappointed in not being given anything under the terms of the will. The drafting lawyer was deceased but we located the other signing witness to the will and secured her testimony for trial. After trial to the Probate Judge, the cut-up will was ordered admitted to probate as an original thereby resulting in our client, one of the decedent's next of kin, receiving a substantial bequest under the admitted Will.