Can I Unstaple My Original Will to Make a Copy? - Makofsky Valente Law Group, P.C.

Elder Law Q & A: Wills

Q: I need to make some copies of my Will. Can I unstaple my original Will in order to copy or scan it?

A: No! Put down that stapler and back away from that Will… it is a VERY bad idea to remove the staples of an original Will. Why? An unstapled Will is evidence that the original Will was tampered with. Unstapling a Will could raise suspicions that pages were removed and others were substituted. It could give the appearance of fraud.

Q: What if I’ve already unstapled the original Will? What will happen when it goes to probate?

A: A great deal of the probate process focuses on making sure there was no fraud. When a Will that has been unstapled is submitted to probate, explanations are required. Affidavits must be submitted which explain when and why the Will was unstapled. After that it is up to the surrogate to decide whether the Will should be admitted to probate. This slows down the process and also gives ammunition to anyone contesting the Will. The judge may also ultimately choose to reject the Will. So, bottom line, protect yourself by NEVER unstapling an original Will. Store it somewhere safe in its original condition.

Did you know that upon request we will store original Wills for our clients so they can be sure that, when needed, the original Will is in perfect condition for the court? Just ask.

Do you have any questions about wills or how to store them? Concerns about other estate or elder law issues? We can help. We are only a phone call or e-mail away.

The information provided herein does not, and is not intended to, constitute legal advice; instead, all information, content, and materials available here are for general informational purposes only.

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