Lost Wills

Lost Will Proceedings (emergency applications as needed)

To successfully settle an estate in the probate court in New York, you want to have the most recent valid will presented to the court. However, even if that will has been lost (in a fire or for any other reason), you may still be able to have the estate administered in accordance with the terms of the lost will, under certain conditions. This proceeding can be complicated, time consuming and confusing. We can help.

Under New York law, a lost will may be verified and admitted in a probate proceeding under the following conditions:

  • There must be evidence that the will has not been revoked
  • There must be evidence that the will was validly executed
  • The terms of the will must be “clearly and distinctly” shown by at least two credible witnesses or by a copy of the will that can be proven as accurate and complete.

This sounds simple, but it is much more complicated and involved. We have been successful in every lost will proceeding that we have filed. Let us help you. We can also file and apply for preliminary letters of appointment—applications to the court for special relief for emergencies and other necessary action as appropriate.

In most instances, a photocopy of the will is available, and can be used to verify the terms.

At the Law Office of Bonnie Lawston, we can effectively protect your rights in proceedings involving a lost will. We have successfully handled a wide range of estate administration and litigation matters for clients in Suffolk County and Nassau County on Long Island for more than 20 years.

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