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PR named in Will and entire estate willed to me. How can I make a certified copy of Will for safe keeping

In my Mother's will, I am named the Executor (now PR), as well as the only person named in the will to receive the assets. No charity, person or organization is named at all.
Does Massachusetts permit the making of a certified or notarized copy of the Will. I have not yet submitted the Will to probate. It is in the hands of the Attorney who drafted it for my Mother. I would like to make a "certified" copy, prior to the Will be submitted for Formal Probate.
Is there a mechanism for this?
My reason is just being extra thorough and extra careful. In case anything happened to the only original, I know that would create extra steps in order to get a photo copy, which I possess now, accepted.
Thank you.

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Submitted Fri, 05/05/2017 - 11:47

Generally, there is little benefit to having a certified copy rather than
a photocopy for probate, though in some cases (e.g. estate tax returns),
something more than a photocopy is needed. This also applies in the case
where a "foreign" (in another U.S. state) ancillary probate is necessary -
there, the 'certification' comes from the probate court holding the
original (e.g., Massachusetts).

In the unlikely event that the will was lost while in possession of the
attorney, a photocopy or conformed copy can be probated, with a little
extra process. It is a presumption that the original was never revoked,
if the person or company who lost it was not the testator (the person who
made the will). I doubt that it would make a significant difference to
the probate court if it were a certified copy versus a simple photocopy -
the issue is who had the original at the time of death of the testator.
It would still not be the original will, and would need to go through the
process for probate of a copy.

(It is more of a problem if the original was known to be in the possession
of the testator and then can't be found. Then, you may have to overcome
the presumption that the testator revoked the will by destroying it (...
with due formality, and not by accident).)

So, it's not clear that a certified copy would be significantly better
than a simple photocopy. Hope that helps.



Submitted Tue, 05/09/2017 - 11:12

The original will must be filed with the Court. ONLY the original is legally binding. Additionally, ONLY the court is empowered to make certified copies. There is no way to get a "certified" copy on your own. Only a government office (like the court) can certify copies. The proper method here, is to file the original with the court, and ask them to make you a certified copy of it at that time.

Atty David Owens


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