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Original will lost

Question:

I would like to know what to do if the original will cannot be found and you only have a certified copy and the will is being contested by the Master who wants to apply the intestate principles. This is the case with my wife, where she inherited all the assets of her aunt and uncle who are both deceased but their adopted son (who is an adult) is disinherited. The Master is contesting the will on his behalf. We have searched everywhere for the original will but with no success. The attorneys who drafted the will many years had desolved their partnership and one of the attorneys had passed away. They could also not assist. Please assist in this urgent matter as it looked like we had hit a huge stumbling block. We had also appointed an attorney to help with the matter but it looks like it will not help. My wife had the copy of the will certified at a police station in the presence of her attorney. An affidavid was also made stating that the original will cannot be found. This affidavid and copy of the will was submitted to the Master, who is still insisting to proceed with applying interstate law. The attorney launched a high court application on our behalf. We have not heard of them since. What more can we do to prevent the Master from proceeding with the interstate law.

Answer:

Firstly, part of the process when reporting an estate is that the Master‘s office must ensure that the Will complies with the Wills act, it either gets accepted as a valid or invalid Will.

In the circumstances mentioned below, the Master cannot contest a will on behalf of one beneficiary. The Master’s role needs to neutral. Where the parties can present a copy of a Will the Master should advise that the parties needs to approach the High Court with an application to declare that will as the final and valid one for the Master’s purposes .

When parties do approach the High Court with such an application they need to inform the Master of their intention, the Master will then stop the administration process until the courts ruling.

Ensure that you can give proof of your application for the Master together with your formal objection against the Liquidation account lodged.

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