Closing a recently deceased loved one's estate can go much more smoothly if the person created an estate plan. Probate administration can rely heavily on the information in wills and other planning documents. It is important that the original documents are at hand, but it is not impossible to use a copy of a will if absolutely necessary.
Texas executors cannot simply hand over a copy of a will and expect it to receive validation like an original document would. The copy will have to be proven as containing the same terms as the original, which may involve bringing in a witness to corroborate an executor's claims that it is the same as the original. These steps occur during a prove-up hearing. Additionally, all heirs and beneficiaries need to be informed that a photocopy is being presented to the court so that they have the opportunity to contest its validation if desired.
A person presenting a copy of a will may also be required to prove that the testator did not purposefully destroy the original. If the original document cannot be found after many attempts to locate it, the court may presume that the original document was revoked or destroyed intentionally. Refuting this presumption may prove difficult.
Probate administration can have complications, and failing to find an original document may only make matters more complex. Because utilizing a copy of a will has its challenges, individuals facing this possibility may benefit from enlisting the help of experienced Texas attorneys from the start. Legal professionals may be able to provide insight on where to look for original documents and how to go about presenting a copy of a will to the court.