How Do I Find Out if my Loved One Had a Will?

If you are not certain whether or not your loved one had a will, you will want to look through his or her personal effects to see if you can locate one. Filing cabinets, desk drawers, and safes are all logical places to check. You should also contact your loved one's attorney, if you know that he or she had one, to see if the will is on file at the attorney's office. You might also consider asking close friends of the deceased if they knew of a will or even acted as witness to one. In Wisconsin, you can also call the probate registrar in the county in which your loved one lived to see if he or she filed a will. Although filing a will prior to death is rare, it does sometimes occur.

Some people also keep their wills in a safe deposit box. If you know that the deceased had a safe deposit box, you should talk to their financial institution. Wisconsin law requires that anyone (including a financial institution) who has custody of a will must either file it with the court, or deliver it to the person nominated in the will as personal representative, within 30 days.