Probating a Lost or Missing Will in Florida

Our Jacksonville Probate Lawyers Can Help You Take Decisive Action

At Owenby Law, P.A., we have extensive experience in the probate process for estates in Florida. Even when a will is properly drafted, executed, and filed by an estate planning lawyer, probating an estate can be time-consuming and complicated. When a will is lost, however, as is often the case when the decedent did not retain the services of an estate planning attorney, it can be extraordinarily difficult to initiate probate proceedings.

Fortunately, our probate attorneys in Jacksonville have experience with probating lost and missing wills. We can often get the courts to recognize a last will and testament even when it cannot be found. If you are an interested party in an estate, and the will cannot be located, we are here to help you. Please contact the team at Owenby Law, P.A. today to find out how we can put our decades of experience to work for your case.

Can’t find a will? Call us at (904) 770-3141 to request your free initial consultation.

The Probate Process for Estates with Missing or Lost Wills

In some cases, a decedent’s survivors will be aware of the existence and contents of a will, but not be able to locate it. Unfortunately, a copy of a will is usually only admissible after the probate court holds a hearing to establish its validity—which requires the live testimony of witnesses.

In Florida, witnesses are needed to validate wills in the following situations:

  • If no copy of the will is available, the testimony of two disinterested witnesses can serve to help a lost will be validated by the court.
  • If a copy of the will is located, one disinterested witness and reasonable proof that the document is not fraudulent is required.

What If a Lost or Missing Will Cannot Be Validated By the Court?

Naturally, there are some instances where a will cannot be located and/or there are no disinterested persons with knowledge of its contests. In these cases, the principle is considered to have died intestate (without a will). As a result, the estate will be probated according to Florida's intestate succession laws. This means that the assets of the estate will be distributed according to a prescribed hierarchy that begins with the spouse, then the children, then the parents, etc. To ensure your rights are protected, work with a Jacksonville probate attorney from Owenby Law, P.A.

Owenby Law, P.A. Can Guide You Through the Process – Call for a Free Review

If you have knowledge of the existence of a will, or you are in possession of a copy of an individual's last will and testament, our probate lawyers in Jacksonville, FL can assist you in having it recognized by the courts. We have experience dealing with all contingencies that can arise during the probate process in Florida, so you can trust that your case will be in capable hands when you work with the team at Owenby Law, P.A.

Contact Owenby Law, P.A. for more information about probating a lost or missing will.