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Hi all, my sister asked me for an online will right before she died. She filled it out, discussed some things with me, was happy with it, asked me to get a notary over to see her/sign it make it official. Sadly she slipped away before I got to that, but, she didn't have much, and I already knew most of what she wanted. I went to take it out of the folder she'd tucked it into, see where specific family treasures in her possession were to go while packing away her house and things, and it was gone! Her estranged daughter, (druggie/welfare queen), had been hanging around. I know there were certain things Sis did NOT want the undeserving irresponsible kid to have, and I'm guessing she got rid of the will so she'd get them all. All the other papers were in the folder, and it was right where Sis put it. Even if she'd had it notarized, if it couldn't be found, it wouldn't matter, right? We're getting ready to make a will for ourselves, what do we do with it when we are done? Do we file it somewhere? Put a copy in a safe deposit box? If it's many years down the road, how will beneficiaries prove it exists if they don't have access to it? I don't want that little gold digger going after our assets, we don't have children, but have some younger friends who are like family we want to leave everything too. Thanks!

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I appreciate your advice although I doubt this case will even see the inside of a courtroom. I've never gone through this before so idk what I'm doing although I am picking up some things along the way. I just wish we could afford legal help. And wish my grandma would stop fighting me on everything and stop falsely accusing me when she doesn't get her way. In a perfect world I guess things would have been different but any other advice is accepted and appreciated.
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Pamstegma - I wish we had the money for an attorney ( I say we because I've been with my grandma every step of the way and feel like we're in this together although I do realize it would really be her attorney since she's the one entitled to anything.) butt he sad fact is we can barely afford to live month to month I couldn't even get my grandma a dog from the pound for $120 when everyone was telling me she needed a "companion". I hate seeing her so sad and upset every minute or every day. My grandparents just about raised me as far as I'm concerned since my mom and dad divorced and my mother was a wild girl partying at bars. I don't quite understand why, if it's because my grandpas daughter has POA (which idk why they wouldn't listen when my grandma told them herself she was tricked into signing it), idk if it's because I'm so young (23) and his daughter is older (in her 50s), if it's my past catching up with me ( I was an addict since I was 13 until I was 20, but I got clean and not that person anymore) this is one thing she found out about and tried using against me, I even think her and the social worker might have been friends at one point when she lived in town years ago ( they from the start just seemed to be overly buddy-buddy and he was biased from the start. but it doesn't seem as though APS Is going to bunch help. They just keep pushing a home situation our way. It's quite frustrating.
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Nomoreoptions, you needed an attorney as soon as Grandpa died. So if nothing has been sorted out since then, someone had to step in. I'm sure APS will clear you and the courts will appoint a conservator for Grandma. Keep the faith.
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My grandmother is gonna no through a situation where my grandfathers daughters ( whom have despised my grandmother from the start stating that she took their father away from them) are trying to take everything that rightfully belongs to my grandmother. My grandfather passed in November of 2015 we still haven't found a will for my grandfather as my grandma can't remember which lawyer helped him with it or if he had one at all ( she started having cognitive decline as soon as my grandpa died, I believe it's dementia although it has not been diagnosed. I'm sure it probably started before then but it became very clear at that time). One of my grandpas daughters even tricked her in to signing over power of attorney and got adult protective services involved saying I abused the both of them and murdered my grandpa, its unbelievable! I try to tell A.P.S. These things even my grandma has and it's like they brush it off or turn the other cheek. I can't believe how horrible our lives have been since losing him. As if that wasn't bad enough. And I think the daughter may have gotten my grandma to sign over life insurance to her also it's terrible we've been barely surviving because we can't get any benefits my grandpa left my grandma. But back to the topic at hand the will cannot be found and she's got no idea where it is either. How would I find a missing will that nobody knows where it would be other that the person who's deceased?????? Help, please been searching over 6 months now.
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Also usually the atty who does the will keeps the original in their file. You get a copy of copies with a cover sheet stating where the original is held. A good atty sends a letter out every few years and a better atty sends out an annual letter to whatever address on file (either to the person who did the will or the named executor) as to the safeguarding of the will at their address. If the atty moves, then a letter with a required response is sent as well.

You don't have to do it this way...you can yourself keep the original and put in a safe deposit box or other secure place. But realize a safe deposit box will close if it's only in the deceased name & its a butt-rash to get the court order to get it opened to look for & remove just the will.

But having the atty keep it is better as they have errors & omissions & law practice policies, so that if say there's a fire, they can enter a copy to the court and the judge will accept it as their insurance provides for any indemnity.
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I would highly recommend getting an attorney do prepare your Will. No matter how simple you think it is, there are things you may not be aware of, like how many witnesses that must sign, must it be notarized, etc. I've known of people who get very disappointed when things were not addressed properly and the Will either is not acceptable for Probate or it does something that the deceased person did not intend. All because they had good intentions, but just didn't know how to have it done properly according to the law in their jurisdiction. If it's done properly, it avoids so much headache.
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When a person dies without a Will, you get a lawyer and go to court, asking to administer the estate. Don't assume the daughter gets everything.
For yourself, you file your Will at the county clerk's office. It will be safe there.
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As one who is currently in probate, I'd advise NOT doing any will or codicil to an old will via an off the Internet document. Each state has it's own nuances to just how a will & other items submitted for probate needs to be done to be accepted by the court as valid and an executor named.

I was just at the courthouse pulling parcel info and the woman ahead of me was dealing with unnotarized hand drawn will. It is quite a hot mess as a hand drawn will (holographic will) usually does not meet the standard to be accepted as valid, so there will need to be other documentation gotten (like signed "I knew this person" notarized letters) to establish that the terms of the hand drawn are what the deceased intended. If any heirs contest it, the judge is likely not to accept it and then you have to go the lineal heirship route and however your state does this. Its usually -i think as Im not an atty. - to spouse, then to kids (natural or adopted) so druggie daughter would be ahead of aunts & uncles.

Really see an atty & have stuff drawn up properly & in accordance of state laws.
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I'm sorry for what happened with your sister's will. I'm in the process of doing my own, so I understand how a task that seems simple - and is, really, once you get down to it, it's just the "getting down" that's the hard part! - can easily get put off from one year to the next.

For what it costs I don't think it's worth taking any chances, though, so I'm having mine done by my common-or-garden, high street family lawyer. I have very little to leave, which alas is unlikely to change; so the flat-rate charge for this is less than £200, which at the moment is about $230, no 220, no 210... whatever. It won't break the bank, it saves any worry about validity, and it puts everything on official record.

The lawyer then keeps a copy, and I will make sure that each of my executors gets one as well. It only remains to ensure that every time you get a new desk or purse diary you conscientiously fill in the personal details section; so that if the worst happens whoever finds you in the bath/scrapes you off the highway knows to notify your lawyer.

One point to check: if your niece, or former niece by the sound of it, is your only blood relative, it might be a good idea to spell out in your will that you are intentionally disinheriting her. One way to do this is to leave her something minimal, so that she can't go to court and claim that her batty old auntie must have forgotten her. You could if you really felt you had to spell out your reasons; but be fair and be polite. Here in the UK we recently had a shocking case where a mother went to her grave at daggers drawn with her daughter - a feud that had gone on for decades - and the court overturned her very clear decision to leave her daughter nothing partly on the grounds that the mother had been capricious and vindictive. Or that was what the judgement said. At least part of the reasoning was also that the daughter was on benefits and costing public money - but then that might be very pertinent to your circumstances too.

So keep to calm wording, leave her something meaningful (even if the meaning is sentimental or historic rather than monetary), and get a lawyer to check it out.
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