Is a Will Valid if Filed After the Date of Death?

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“Is a will valid if the lawyer files the will at the courthouse after the death of his client? Example: Person died 12/2005. Will was dated 7/2003, however, was not filed until 12/2005 at the court house.”

[NOTE: Articles and answers on DearEsq., while written and published by lawyers, do not constitute legal advice, and no attorney-client relationship is formed by your reading of this information. You should always consult with an attorney for any legal situations.]

While there is no way to tell what state you are in, in all states with which I am familiar, there is no requirement for a will to be “filed” prior to the death of the decedent. Indeed there is no requirement for a will to be filed at all unless and until the will needs to be probated (reviewed and acted upon) through a probate court, and by definition the decedent will have already died by then.

It is quite common that a will would be held in a safe place, such as the testator’s attorneys office, until after the person who made the will had died, and then filed, if necessary, with the court at that time.

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Author: Anne P. Mitchell, Esq.

Anne P. Mitchell, Esq. is a noted family law expert, Internet law expert, and Professor of Law at Lincoln Law School of San Jose. She is the author of "Surviving Divorce: the Single Father's Guide" and "The Email Deliverability Handbook"

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