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What happens when you can’t find a will in Washington

On Behalf of | Jul 25, 2023 | Estate Administration & Probate, Wills |

It’s common for Washington families to feel a little lost when a loved one passes. Hopefully, the recently deceased talked to their family about their estate plan or gave them instructions as to how to find the will. If they haven’t though, there’s a chance that their family will have to search for the will and any other estate planning documents. This can be problematic as it can seriously delay the probate process.

Where to look for a will

It’s common for individuals to place their will within a safe deposit box at their bank. It’s a good start to call all of the banks at which your loved one had accounts and ask if they had a safe deposit – you’ll have to call the banks to close the account anyway.

Many people might keep a copy of their will somewhere in their home. Search everywhere in the loved one’s home – cabinets, bookshelves, computer files, and anything else you can get your hands on. You may even find it in their car or the garage.

Look for clues

Even if you still can’t find the will, you may find other things that can lead you to it. If you find the number of a lawyer, you may be able to call them and get some information about what your loved one has done insofar as preparing for estate planning and probate. Accountants or financial advisors may also know about your loved one’s estate plan.

You may also be able to get help from the court. Sometimes, wills are filed with the local court system when they’re initially written. Depending on the process your loved one took when estate planning, you might be able to pull a record of the will with the court.

If you absolutely can’t find it

Your loved one’s estate will move through probate according to the state’s default intestate succession laws if a will cannot be found. For this reason, it’s crucial to talk to your loved one about their estate plan before they’ve passed. It’s a difficult conversation, but it can save you time, money, and heartbreak in the future.