It’s understandable how it could happen. Someone wants to make a copy or scan of their Will and so they remove the staples, and unwittingly open up a Pandora’s Box of problems. Why? The reason why you should never unstaple an original Will is that an unstapled Will provides evidence that the original Will was tampered with. It raises the suspicion that someone removed a page from the original Will and substituted it with another page. Much of the probate process focuses on the question of whether there was any fraud, so it is essential to be able to show that the Will being submitted to the court for probate is the original Will that the testator signed.When a Will that has been unstapled is submitted to the court for probate, affidavits will be required to explain why and when the Will was unstapled. Once the information is submitted, it is up to the surrogate to decide whether the Will should then be admitted to probate. Of course, this slows down the probate process and in the end, the judge may choose to reject the Will. It can also add fodder for those who want to object to the Will. So, reminder — NEVER UNSTAPLE AN ORIGINAL WILL. Store it in its original condition to prevent issues. Did you know — upon request, we store original Wills for our clients to be sure that, when needed, the original Will is in pristine condition and ready for submission to the court!
If you have questions or concerns about wills, how to store important documents, or other elder law issues, we can help. We are only a phone call or e-mail away.
The information provided in this email does not, and is not intended to, constitute legal advice; instead, all information, content, and materials available here are for general informational purposes only.