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How it works (step by step)  / Original will  / Guideline costsWe know what we’re doing /
Recent grateful client  / About Kiwilaw 

Do we need the original signed will, or is a copy good enough?

Before you can send the probate documents to the High Court, you will need to uplift the original signed will from whoever holds it.  A copy is not good enough.

However, assuming the original will is currently safe, leave it where it is, until everything else is ready.

As long as you have a photocopy or photo of the will in the meantime, we can work from that.

If the original signed will has been destroyed, additional steps will be needed if you want to use a copy instead.  The court will need to be sure that the destruction of the original will does not mean the will-maker wanted to cancel (revoke) the will.

Keep the original signed will safe!

If you already hold the original will, keep it safe and DO NOT staple, pin, clip, stick, or otherwise fasten anything to it. If it is already stapled, leave it as it is. DO NOT UNSTAPLE IT.  Any of those actions are likely to require a full, expensive explanation to the High Court.

When you are ready to uplift the original signed will

Contact the law firm or other organisation that holds the original will.

Explain that you are making your own application for probate, rather than doing it through a lawyer.

Arrange to pick up the original signed will from them.

If there is more than one executor, both of you will need to confirm this.

If they insist on having a letter from you (rather than preparing something themselves for you to sign), you may like to use this automated interview which produces a letter in Word form for you to download.

CHECK the original will when you first get it – there should be no holes, pin marks, or indentations that could be from paper clips.

Kiwilaw resources

Online enquiry form – probate

Automated interview (about 20 minutes) – application for probate

Online enquiry form – letters of administration (no will)

Automated interview – do you need probate or letters of administration?


How it works (step by step)  / Original will  / Guideline costs / We know what we’re doing /

Recent grateful client  / About Kiwilaw 

Page updated 8 January 2019