Is a Will still binding after 50 years?

A Will does not expire due to age or length of time since it was executed. There are very specific procedures required to void a will. If these formalities were not used, the Will is presumably valid, if valid at time of execution.  A Will, as we say in law, “walks with the testator”–that means it is valid, but not enforceable until the testator passes.

If you have a copy of the will, I suggest you take it to a local estate’s attorney. If you do not have a copy, you can do a will search in the probate court where the decedent lived or was living at the time of the writing. If neither of these are an option, you will have a harder time locating the will, if it still exists. The decedent may have destroyed it or written a new will once married. If you know the lawyer who may have drafted the Will, try to contact him/her.

If no will can be located, the court may distribute under “Intestacy” succession–which is a scheme set out by the state to distribute property of a person who died without a will.

Speak to an attorney who can assist you in locating the will and what options exist in the absence of a will.

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