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Sunday, February 17, 2013

How to find a will

Usually when someone calls me looking for a will, they are looking for a will which has not yet been probated. In fact the need for probate is usually what caused the search in the first place. In the attached article, Ontario lawyer Donna Neff talks about a slightly more unusual situation. A son was looking for a copy of his deceased father's will because his father was due to receive an inheritance. Click here to read Ms.Neff's five tips for finding a missing will.


  1. im mike dean smart and im bill downies best buddie and im looking for his will

    1. Hi Mike,

      If your friend Bill used a lawyer for anything you know of, such as buying a house or defending him on a charge, call that lawyer to see whether Bill ever asked anyone in that firm to do a will for him.

      You could also try calling other law firms in Bill's area, or perhaps close to his work, to see whether he is known to them.

      Make sure you look through his home, car, and place of work. Check the freezer, which I know sounds really odd but a surprising number of people think that's a good place for a will.

      Try to find out whether he had a safe deposit box by looking at his paperwork to see where he banked, then calling the bank to ask about a box.

      Check with any family members, including his parents, spouse or ex spouse, grown kids, and siblings.

      If you live in a province with a wills registry, call the registry to ask if he is registered (start this by going online to find info).

      If Bill had a financial advisor or banker, call them and ask whether he ever talked to them about getting a will done. If he did, they might know where he had it done.

      Because your note was so brief, I don't know whether you have any clues at all to go on. For example, do you know whether you've been appointed executor? If you haven't, you may find it really hard to get information out of anyone because of confidentiality.

      Best of luck, and if you find it, please let me know, because my fingers are crossed for you.


  2. I had my enduring POA, but when my dad passsed we can not find a will. He married at 70 and now his new wife is claiming 1/2 of his estate which is comprised of all my decease mother and fathers earnings. Please help.

    1. How long was he married to the "new" wife?

      There are certain rights that arise when you get married, and one of them is that you get to inherit some or all of your spouse's estate.

      You haven't said which province your father lived in, but in most provinces, when a person dies without a will, his or her spouse gets half the estate and the child get the other half. If there is more than one child, the spouse gets a third and the children get the other 2/3.

      You cannot stop her from getting a share of the estate. If your father didn't want that to happen, he should have made a will.

      The reason I asked how long they've been married is that there is such a thing as a "predatory marriage". That's when a person finds someone, usually quite a bit older, who is somehow vulnerable, then tricks or coerces that person into marrying them so that they can get the assets. Even though an awful lot of children from first marriages think their step-parents are predatory, they are usually wrong. I don't know the facts of your case, of course, but if they had a legitimate marriage, she's going to get a share of the estate.



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