In the final days of your life, things may get a bit hectic, if not downright chaotic. Given those conditions, it would not be unheard of for your last will and testament to be inadvertently lost or destroyed. However, this may exacerbate the difficulties your heirs will face in the wake of your passing by setting into motion complex legal mechanisms with New York Surrogate Courts. According to the Surrogate Courts of the Empire State, if no one can produce evidence testifying to the fact that your will is known to have once existed, cannot now be found and is not known to have been revoked, the Surrogate Courts will presume the will to have been revoked by law. If you or your loved ones are worried about this possibility and would like to rectify it, please continue reading, then contact an experienced Rockland County will attorney to learn more about what happens if your will gets lost or destroyed in New York and how our firm can assist you.

How do you prevent a lost will from being revoked by the New York Surrogate Courts?

Should your will be lost or inadvertently destroyed in the time before, during or after your passing, your heirs will need to retain the services of a skilled Rockland County wills, trusts and estates attorney. Your capable legal professional will help you uncover two credible witnesses who, with or without a copy of the will, can testify to the original being in existence at one time and establishing the following to the Surrogate Courts:

  • The testator did not revoke the since-lost or -destroyed will
  • The since-lost or -destroyed will was executed in the manner prescribed for the probate of an existing will
  • Testimony clearly and distinctly supports all provisions of the since-lost or -destroyed will
  • The copy of the will in question is of the true and complete will

What constitutes evidence of a lost or destroyed will in New York?

In their testimony to the Surrogate Court, these two reliable witnesses must testify that they were present during the writing of the will and/or have first-hand knowledge of its existence. To bolster their testimony, they may provide the Surrogate Courts with supporting documents and drafts.

Once the Surrogate Courts have been satisfied as to the existence of the lost will, the Courts must determine whether the will was properly executed.

How can a Rockland County estate planning attorney help?

Our legal team has extensive experience with these and other estate planning matters. Aside from locating two attesting witnesses and helping prepare their testimony, your estate planning attorney will make sure that all the documents and filings are completed on time and in the proper manner. These matters are too sensitive to handle on your own, so please do not hesitate to give us a call today.

Contact our Firm

The Lauterbach Law Firm is proud to serve clients throughout Rockland County who are faced with legal matters related to estate planning, real estate, foreclosure defense, landlord-tenant law, business law, and criminal defense. If you require the services of an experienced team of attorneys, contact The Lauterbach Law Firm today to schedule a consultation.