What happens if the original Will has been lost?

However, it sometimes happens that the Deceased (or some other person) has lost the original Will.  In that case, a copy of the Will may be accepted; however, validating such a copy will require an application to the Court.


The Succession Law Reform Act provides that a Will is revoked by marriage (with certain exceptions), by another Will, by a declaration in writing indicating an intention to revoke, or by an act of destroying the Will (such as burning or tearing the Will).


Accordingly, when the original Will is lost, and assuming there is no other Will, the task is really to prove that the original was not destroyed by the Deceased in her lifetime. 


The court must be satisfied: (a) that the original Will was duly executed, (b) that possession of the Will can be traced to the Deceased’s date of death; (c) that there is evidence to rebut the presumption that the Will was destroyed by the Deceased with an intention to revoke it; and (d) that the contents of the Will can be proven (which is straightforward where there is a copy).