Q&As

Will the probate office accept a certified copy of a lost Will or will the presumption apply that the Will was revoked by the testator having destroyed it?

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Produced in partnership with Lynne Counsell of 9 Stone Buildings
Published on LexisPSL on 04/11/2019

The following Wills & Probate Q&A produced in partnership with Lynne Counsell of 9 Stone Buildings provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • Will the probate office accept a certified copy of a lost Will or will the presumption apply that the Will was revoked by the testator having destroyed it?
  • Presumption of revocation
  • Probate procedure—lost Wills
  • Summary

Will the probate office accept a certified copy of a lost Will or will the presumption apply that the Will was revoked by the testator having destroyed it?

Presumption of revocation

The question is referring to the presumption of law that if a Will can be traced back to the possession of the testator and it is not forthcoming on his death after all reasonable search and inquiry, it was destroyed by the testator with an intention to revoke it (animo revocandi). The presumption is based on the fact that ‘…it is highly reasonable to suppose that an instrument of so much importance would be carefully preserved by a person of ordinary caution in some place of safety and would not be lost or stolen; and if, on the death of the maker, it is not found…it is in a high degree probable that the deceased has purposely

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