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Replacing A Lost Will

Replacing A Lost Will image
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The Times man was in the Washteaw probate office one day last week ná in conversation with Register of 3robate Doty the question came up as o what would be done in case a will was burned or otherwise accidentally estroyed or lost after a testator's eath and before the will had been roved in the probate office. Mr. Doty eplied that the only thing to do would e to reproduce the will as near as posible to The restimony of the man who had drawn it and those who new of its provisions. It might not be atisfactory, but would be the only hing possible. Conversation en the ubject drifted around to some actual ïappenings and Mr. Doty told the Times a story of a will which became ost in the Washtenaw probate office nd which is worthy of reproduction. Somewhere between 30 and 40 years go a man dled leaving a large proprty. In bis will he gave the widow a fe interest in the entire property, no ivision to be made until her death. The widow lived some 25 years or more fter the death of the husband and durng this time of course the heirs could o nothing but wait, just as the Prince f Wales has been waiting to become Cing of England. Like all mortals, owever, she flnally gave up the ghost nd the heirs proceeded to the probate ourt as soon as delicacy would allow o have the will proved and the proprty divided. To refer to the Prince of Vales again. it can be imagined how he would feel if after his aorrow at the eath of his mother, the good Queen ric, had been properly assoiaged and e proceeded to take possession of the rown for which he has so long been waiting he should find that he could ot prove his title to it, that all the roofs of his birth had been lost and ïere was a question if he had any ights at all in the matter. It was omething of such a situation that met he heirs in question for when they had ied themselves to the probate office norace of the will could be found and onsequently no división could take lace. The will had been filed originally in he days of Probate Judge Joslyn who. o use a terse phrase, used to file his apers in the waste paper basket. What had become of it no one knew. 'he heirs were very anxious of courae o have the will discovered and asked Mr. Doty, who was then in hls first year as probate register, to use all the diligence possible in trylng to discover the will. After Judge Joslyn left the office things were found in such confusión that John B. Gott was hired to sort out the papers and file them. Mr. Gott worked long at the job and put things in as good shape as possible, but there were many papers that were never discovered and this will was among the number. Mr. Doty looked through all the files carefully at the time and kept the matter in his mind for two years or more, but the will did not come to light. In the meantime the heirs were anxious for a división of the property and flnally Judge Joslyn, who had drafted the original will, proposed to the heirs to draft another one from memory. lt was about 30 years from the time that he had drafted the original, but he said that he remembered its provisions perfectly. As this seemed the only solution the heirs consented and a new will was drafted and written by exGov. Pelch, at the dictation of Judge Joslyn. The will was proved, admitted to probate and the property divided just as though it had been the original. And now comes the sequel. About one year after the will had been proved in looking through and rearranging certain files, Mr. Doty carne across some papers wrapped up and labeled as the papers in the case of certain minor ehildren. He broke the wrapper in order to arrange them better and his attention was arrested by seeing on some of the papers the name of the estáte in vvhich the will had been lost. A further examination discovered the long lost will, it having been put In the wrbng package and thus been safely filed where no one would think of looking for it. Being curious to see how good a memory Judge Joslyn had in the matter, the original will was then compared with the copy he had made from memory 30 years afterwards and the two wills were found to be almost exactly identical even to the language used. This certainly appears to be one of the most remarkable cases of memory on record, and also one of the most peculiar stories the Times has ever heard in connection with the devise of property. , .


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