When you can’t find the will

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he holidays are typically a time when families are gathered together, creating a perfect opportunity to bring everyone up to speed on where your estate documents are located.

By Beth Newcomb

Mom or Dad dies, and everyone is left scrambling to try and figure out where the will is. 

“I’ve had people bring in copies of wills because they can’t find the originals,” says John J. Urban, an attorney who has concentrated in estate management since the mid ‘70s. 

“In certain circumstances, we can probate a signed copy of the will, but there is considerable lost time and expense involved.”

The best scenario, he notes, is when the will holder makes sure everyone in the family is informed about where his or her important documents are.

“The holidays are typically a time when families are gathered together, creating a perfect opportunity to bring everyone up to speed on where your estate documents are located,” he suggests. 

“You’ve spent the time and money making sure they’re in place, but it’s a wasted effort if you die and no one can find them.”

Some people give copies of their documents to friends or loved ones with instructions as to where the originals are kept. Others give the keys or combination to a safe. 

At the very least, give the person in charge of your estate a list of where your documents are kept and information on how to get into your safe or secured box, he says.

“If no will is produced, the state will intervene and write your will for you,” John cautions. “Any effort you made to create that or other estate documents is gone.”

John is offering a free document review for people who have estate planning documents in place, so they can be certain everything is in order. Call for an appointment to get the process started.

For Mimi readers, John provides a free legal services consultation in person or on the phone and offers his services at a contracted discount rate. Be sure to mention this story when you schedule an appointment. House calls and select evening appointments available.

To reach attorney John J. Urban, call 440-846-0000, ext. 227. His offices are located at 11221 Pearl Road, in Strongsville. Visit the website at JJUrbanLaw.com.

Categories: Westside Smart Living