Counsel of Good Value: Ziegler Metzger's Motto Since 1952

What happens when a will cannot be found?

If a close relative dies and you are left trying to figure out his or her estate, it is quite helpful if there is a will. However, if you cannot find the will, then it is not going to be of much help. Luckily, there are some steps you can take to try to find the will and figure out the wishes of your loved one.

In a case where the will cannot be found or the location of it is unknown, you typically need to be a close relative, such as a child, spouse or grandchild, the closest living relative or the only known living relative, according to Fox Business. This will make it much easier to maneuver through any legal steps you may have to take because you will often have to produce proof of the relationship.

Make contact with people

Others may be in the know about the location of the will. A great place to begin is to start asking around. You should talk to close friends and even co-workers of your relative to see if they have any information.

Search around

If you have access to your relative’s home, this is another good place to look. You can go through financial records or other personal paperwork to look for the will. If your relative had a safe, try looking in there if you can get access to it. You may also find records for safe deposit boxes, which may be where the will is. Gather as much information as you can to help locate the will. You may even get lucky and find the actual will.

Stop at the courthouse

If nothing has turned up after contacting people and searching, then it is time to go to the courthouse in Ohio in the area in which your relative lived. You can usually find some record of any legal proceedings to establish an estate and get the name of the executor if one was assigned. Do note, though, this will not always produce results because not every estate has an assigned executor.

When searching for a will, you may run into issues with others trying to claim an inheritance. It can be a good idea to consider legal counsel during the process.