QLD Destroyed Original Will

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Sovaka

Member
11 November 2019
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Hello,

My siblings and I recently discovered that our estranged father passed away in 2004 and through some exhaustive searching, we have discovered that the Solicitors that were holding his original Will, have destroyed it.
Their statement was that due to law requirements, they are free to destroy documents after being held for 7 years.

My question is, what are they are required to do by law?
I know they aren't required to keep it, but would it not be general practice to back it up digitally (disc or online) or to send the documents to the Q.L.S.?

If not and they are free to destroy an original will, outside of probate, is there any way we can track down if the estate was executed correctly and if there would be a copy of the will out there somewhere?
I recently contact the ATO to get documentation from them regarding his affairs, and they told me they were only able to release said information to the executor of the will.
Which can't be verified since the original will no longer exists.
I ask for options outside of probate because I've searched it and the executor at the time can only remember vague details, one of which, was that my fathers estate was more debt than asset so no probate would have been filed.

I am hoping that someone out there may have other avenues for finding said information or know of people to ask.

Thank you for any and all assistance.
 

Paul Cott

Well-Known Member
LawTap Verified
26 May 2014
274
90
789
Ballarat, Victoria
Hi Sovaka,
No an original a Will cannot be destroyed after 7 years, if that’s what they said and meant, it cannot be correct. Even if they did, they should keep a copy of it.
Maybe the law society or law institute in your state, depending on where you are may be able to help or offer some guidance.
 
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Sovaka

Member
11 November 2019
2
0
1
Hi Sovaka,
No an original a Will cannot be destroyed after 7 years, if that’s what they said and meant, it cannot be correct. Even if they did, they should keep a copy of it.
Maybe the law society or law institute in your state, depending on where you are may be able to help or offer some guidance.
Thank you for the quick reply Paul.
When you say it cannot be destroyed, does that mean they are legally obligated to keep it no matter the circumstance?
If that be the case and they state they have no files on record for the Original Will, would they have sent them to the QLD Law Society?
I have called them and they only thing they had on record was a transfer of documents to a different legal firm.
I've contacted that legal firm and they state that must be in error as they only deal with strata and nothing else.
 

Paul Cott

Well-Known Member
LawTap Verified
26 May 2014
274
90
789
Ballarat, Victoria
Yes sorry I perhaps wasn’t quite clear enough. They are obligated (unless in Queensland it is different to where I am, in Victoria) to keep it. The 7 years requirement has no relevance to a Will. Obviously a Will can remain relevant beyond 7 years. When I meant when I said to refer to your law society, I meant make a complaint. You may be surprised how the law firm finds the Will if their regulator contacts them!
 
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