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Richard, Attorney
Category: Estate Law
Satisfied Customers: 55308
Experience:  29 years of experience practicing law, including tax and estate planning.
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I am asking about my grandmothers estate in the state of Texas.

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I am asking about my grandmother's estate in the state of Texas. She had survived her husband by 21 years and had completed probate on his will. I know that my grandmother had a will and that I was to be executor after my mother passed away BUT we can't find a copy of the will. Should there be copy filed somewhere in the county court system? How do I go about handling the estate without the will in hand?
Hi! My name is XXXXX XXXXX I look forward to helping you!

Unfortunately, wills are typically not filed or recorded anywhere. The best bet is to determine the attorney or law firm who drafted the will and contact them. It's likely they would at least have a fully executed copy and typically would keep the original for safekeeping. If you can't find the will, the presumption is that it was destroyed by the decedent. But, Section 85 of Texas Probate Code does allow you to overcome this presumption if you can prove: i) that it was not revoked, ii) the cause of the written will's non-production and that such cause satisfies the court that the will cannot be produced through reasonable diligence, and iii) the contents of the will must be substantially proved by a credible witness who has read the will, heard it read, or can identify a copy of the will. If you can prove these things, the court will admit the lost will to probate.

If not, your grandmother would be deemed to have died intestate and the Texas intestate succession laws would apply. Under those, with no surviving spouse, your grandmother's children would inherit equally and if any of the children were deceased (as is your situation with your mother), then if the deceased children had children, then the children of the deceased child would inherit the deceased child's share.

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Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Thanks so much! Do you have any advice on what to look for in finding a local attorney to assist me in getting this worked out? I am still hunting for the actual copy that I know my mother had but am being pressured by family members to "do something". It is one of those I woulda if I coulda situations. I am in the Beaumont, Texas area if you have any recommendations. Thanks again for your help!