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Lawyer loses all the files for Estate

Discussion in 'Estate Planning, Creating Wills & Trusts' started by Kimberly Walter, Apr 14, 2021.

  1. Kimberly Walter

    Kimberly Walter Law Topic Starter New Member

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    Feb. 2020 my father signed an amendment to his Will stating he wanted 3 executors. There were 5 witnesses present including the Lawyer, Notary, and 3 witnesses.

    The Lawyer said it was the end of the day and she would get us a copy, which never happened. In April 2020 my father passed away. Right after his death we had a zoom meeting and asked for a copy of all documents.

    Since then we have repeatedly asked and now have been told they were stolen Feb 2021 by a former employee. Who is responsible to safeguard the documents? Isn't it protocol to scan them, and save them in the cloud? The notary has his signature in their book.
     
  2. Zigner

    Zigner Well-Known Member

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    Was the only change to the will that he wanted 3 executors? If yes, then what would the problem be if there were only a single executor? An executor simply makes sure that the terms of the will are carried out. Having 3 executors can actually make things MUCH harder.

    EDIT: To be clear, "executor" isn't the official term. The official term is "personal representative". The will "nominates" the executor/personal representative, and the court confirms the appointment.
     
  3. zddoodah

    zddoodah Well-Known Member

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    What a (generally) terrible idea.

    Were you one of the three witnesses?

    "Us"? Why would she give a copy to anyone other than your father? In any event, I guess no one was sufficiently prescient as to take pictures with a phone camera.

    In the two months between the making of this will and the date of death, how many attempts did your father or anyone acting on his behalf make to follow up with the lawyer about getting a copy of the will (including visiting the lawyer's office)?

    I don't know what documents you're talking about other than the will, but the lawyer is obviously responsible for safeguarding the will.

    Not every lawyer follows the same protocols. The original should have been kept in a fireproof safe. Most lawyers these days scan and save documents either to a local drive or a "cloud-based" server.

    At the end of the day, what difference does it make? Did your father have a prior will that the February 2020 will superseded? If so, does the original or a copy of that will still exist? Does the lawyer have a Word (or other word processor) version of the lost will? What changes were made from one will to the other? How does the distribution of his estate pursuant to the February 2020 will differ from how the estate would be distributed under the law of intestate succession? In the year since he died, what steps have been taken to probate your father's estate?
     

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