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  1. #1
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    Jun 2006
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    Default What To Do If The Original Will Has Been Lost

    A relative in Georgia recently died . We could not find the signed original will . The copy of the will we found was the lawyer's file copy that shows who signed and witnessed the signing of the will in 1994 . This lawyer also drafted the will and is still available . We also have two later codicils which are originals (properly signed and witnessed ) prepared by the same lawyer . We also have an original signed Third codicil which was prepared by another 4 years ago. This lawyer and witnesses for the 3 codicil are available too . I believe that of the codicils ref3renced the prior documents .

    Can this will be validated in GA to avoid and intestate situation ? I would like to know what the process in GA is before I meet with a lawyer . Which of the two lawyers would be better to handle this situation . - Thanks

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Lost original will (only file copy + codicils) - GA

    Georgia law provides:
    Quote Quoting Georgia Code, Section 53-4-46.
    (a) A presumption of intent to revoke arises if the original of a testatorīs will cannot be found to probate.

    (b) A copy of a will may be offered for probate in accordance with Chapter 5 of this title in lieu of the original will if the original cannot be found to probate, provided that the copy is proved by a preponderance of the evidence to be a true copy of the original will and that the presumption of intent to revoke set forth in subsection (a) of this Code section is rebutted by a preponderance of the evidence.
    You may need the lawyer who helped draft the original will as a witness, in which case he normally shouldn't also act as an advocate.

  3. #3
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    Jun 2006
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    Default Re: Lost original will (only file copy + codicils) - GA

    Mr. Knowitall - Thanks for your reply . I have contacted both lawyers and both tell me that they are necessary. I was told by the one who drafted and witnessed the 3rd codicil that it was just a matter of filing an affidavit that the will was lost and this (unsigned file copy ) is the copy of the will he saw at the time of drafting the 3rd codicil . Does this sound right ? I have faxed a copy of the 3rd codicil to the lawyer who drafted and witnessed the will and prior codicils and am waiting for his phone call .

    Quote Quoting Mr. Knowitall
    Georgia law provides:

    You may need the lawyer who helped draft the original will as a witness, in which case he normally shouldn't also act as an advocate.

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Lost original will (only file copy + codicils) - GA

    I would hope a Georgia estate lawyer would know proper procedure. The statutory language suggests that there would normally only be a potential problem if somebody challenged the authenticity of the copy.

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