Our mom passed away and we can’t locate her will.
Our mother passed away several weeks ago and so far we’ve been unable to find her will (my sister and I are the only surviving relatives). I know the name of the local Boxford attorney she said drafted her will but I can’t find him anywhere in the phone book or on the Internet. Any idea how to locate him? I’m hoping he has a copy of the will. What will happen if we can’t locate her will?
A few options. Check with the Massachusetts Board of Bar Overseers online or via telephone. An attorney is required to register with them yearly until retired. You should be able to get information that way. Another idea is to contact the Regional Bar Association, for example, Lawrence Bar Association, to see if the attorney is a member. A third idea is to call any small law firm in the Boxford area.
Most attorneys have some idea of where “brother attorneys” are located.
As to whether the attorney retained the will, most attorneys, in recent years, do not keep the original wills and are not required to keep copies for more than a few years.
If you do eventually find a copy of the will, you may present the copy to the court for approval with the appropriate explanations.
Further, you should determine whether a probate is even necessary. For example, if there are no probate assets that need to be transferred, that is, all property was in joint name or has named beneficiaries; there may not be a need to probate the will.
If there is no will to be found, and you determine a probate is necessary, you may start the probate without a will as an intestate (without a will) matter.
Final tip; a meeting with an attorney experienced in probate matters will help you clarify all these questions for generally a very reasonable fee.
Boxford Estate Planning Attorneys at Baron Law & Mediation provide legal services to individuals and families in Boxford and the surrounding Greater Boston communities including: Andover, North Andover, Georgetown, Rowley, Ipswitch, Topsfield, Middleton and North Reading.
Baron Law & Mediation
Boxford Estate Planning Attorneys
800 Turnpike Street, Suite 300
North Andover, MA 01845