In this Estate Planning and Elder Law Minute, Wes Coulson, Illinois and Missouri Elder Law attorney, discusses why a Will has to be filed with the court in the county where someone lived at the time that they died even if there’s not going to be any need for probate.
Hiding a Decedent’s Will Could Land You in Jail
Hi, I’m Wes Coulson, from Coulson Elder Law in O’Fallon, Illinois and St. Louis, Missouri, and this is your Estate Planning and Elder Law Minute. You may not know this, but when someone dies and they have a Will, it has to be filed with the court in the county where they lived at the time that they died even if there’s not going to be any need for probate.
Now, you might ask, “Well, why would you need to do that if there’s not going to be probate?” Well, it’s an interesting reason. It’s actually, oddly enough, a crime if you are in possession of the Will of someone who dies and don’t file the Will with the court. So, why do they require that?
Well, here’s why. Let’s say that you are one of your late mother’s three children and you find her Will first and you see that she has left her estate, half to your brother and half to your sister and nothing to you, and you look at that and say, “Well, that’s terrible, I don’t want to not get anything. You know, if I deep-six mom’s Will and it never sees the light of day, then I’m going to get a third like everybody else.”
So, the reason for that requirement is they don’t want it so that somebody would look at the terms of the Will and not like what they see and decide that if they buried that Will, they would come out better. Very few people are crooks, but probate laws are written to make sure that crooks don’t get away with it. Thanks.
For more information about Estate Planning and Wills, visit these articles:
- Common Estate Planning Mistake #1: Failing to appreciate how assets pass upon death
- If You’re Married and Over 65, Your Wills are Probably Wrong
- Living Trusts vs. Wills: Being Able to Give Informal Direction to Trustees
“Your Trusted Advisor on the Elder Care Journey”
Coulson Elder Law is dedicated to providing families in the St. Louis area with their Elder Law needs. Our practice areas include Asset Preservation Planning, Veterans Benefits, Medicaid Eligibility, Alzheimer’s Planning, Special Needs Planning, Estate Planning and more. We understand the financial challenges you may face as you and your loved ones grow older. At Coulson Elder Law, our clients’ well-being is our number one priority. For immediate help, call (618) 632-7000 or (314) 567-9292, or Contact Us and we will get in touch as soon as possible.