My grandma is in my care. My mom was her POA but she died and she had a DPOA set up before her death so I could care for my grandma since she has severe dementia. I was going through her papers before we moved and found a very old will my grandma had made up. I wasn't even born yet (and I am 38 years old) and neither was my sister. My cousins were born though so right now it reads her stuff (which is only a savings and checking account and the items in my house) goes to her daughters. They are both deceased so then it lists that it goes to the grand children and they are listed by name as my two cousins. We were not written in the will since we were not born. The question I have is this, since I have DPOA and I know this ends when she dies, and all she has is these two very small balance accounts which will probably be completely drained upon her death to pay for her trip from Maine to Pennsylvania and for her burial, do I have to admit when she does die, that the Will even exists? Is there some law that states that Wills have to be disclosed? My cousins live across the United States. One is in the military and the other has moved so many times I have not kept up with where she is living now (both do not talk to my sister and myself much except once in a while via Facebook if she's needing something). One cousin saw her 6 years ago after signing up for the military, and the other over 10 years ago at a family wedding that my sister paid for her ticket to (since it was her wedding and she really wanted the family to be all together). I just don't know whether or not I should make the Will disappear so that there are no real legal issues or if it has to be disclosed.

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Also, finish going through her papers. You might yet come across a more recent will.

With no estate to leave, and no beneficiaries who are aware of being beneficiaries, it probably did seem to you that - oops - accidentally shredding this document might be the easiest thing. I can see why, and I agree that probably no harm would have come to anybody through that (though see above for the inconvenience).

Just... You do realise, do you, quite how illegal it would have been?

Is there some law, you ask - well, 5 seconds on the internet would have got you this among many many answers:

"2005 West Virginia Code - §61-3-23. — Destroying or concealing will; embezzlement by fiduciary; penalty.

§61-3-23. Destroying or concealing will; embezzlement by fiduciary; penalty.

If any person fraudulently destroy or conceal any will or codicil, with intent to prevent the probate thereof, he shall be guilty of a felony, and, upon conviction, be confined in the penitentiary not less than one nor more than five years...."

It goes on a fair bit after that. But you notice they don't mention how big or small the estate has to be.

On the death of the testator, a will becomes a public document. Frame it, take it to a lawyer, mail it to your congressman, whatever. Don't destroy it.

Whom does the will name as executor, by the way? Because, more cheerfully for you, and as Pam points out, that person is also responsible for handling the funeral arrangements.
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Let's say she dies tomorrow. Your POA is ended. You cannot arrange the funeral or access the bank accounts to pay for it. The Executor does that. So you do need the Will and an Executor.
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If a Will was prepared by an Attorney, it would usually say "my worldly possessions will go to my Daughters and if they are predeceased then to any children born to them" or something like that.

Is there a name of an Attorney on that Will? If yes, call the office to see if any Wills from your Mom were kept on file [microfilm or on disc]. It could be there is a more current Will.

Come people file Wills with the Court to keep it in a safe place. Check with the County courthouses of where Grandmother had lived in the past and see if there is such a thing [not everyone files Wills nor does every courthouse keep copies of Wills].
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If no one is going to inherit anything, then why say there was not a will? What if one of the other family members knows that there is a will and you say it does not exist? I'm not sure it boils down to a matter of law as much as a matter of conscience.
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As you say, it really isn't going to matter, is it? If there is virtually nothing to inherit, does it matter who gets that nothing?

But I'm basically bumping this up, hoping someone else will respond to it for you.
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