Lost Will and Testament
Someone's will has gone missing leaving things in turmoil.
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(permanent link) added: 2012-10-17 19:39:24 sponsor: shimaspawn edited by: Stratadrake (last reply: 2012-12-17 08:57:28)

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Some people just can't die in a neat and orderly fashion. Their wills, the listing of their last wishes, have gone missing and as a result their possessions are being fought over. Sometimes the will has been intentionally hidden to keep it out of the wrong hands. Sometimes it's been stolen by someone who wants to get something out of it. Sometimes it's just been misplaced.


Examples:

Film
  • Who Framed Roger Rabbit centres around tracking down a missing will in order for the toons to save Toontown.
  • The central MacGuffin in the 1997 film adaptation of The Borrowers is the missing will of the owner of the house. If it isn't found, the building will be demolished.

Literature
  • The first book in the Nancy Drew series, The Secret of the Old Clock has this as the plot.
  • Judge Dee: one case deals with a former governor dying, and his first son kicking out the governor's second wife and child. Though it was certain the governor would leave his wife something, the son produced a will that left her nothing. Judge Dee finds the real will over the course of the story.
  • There's a Miss Marple short story by Agatha Christie called Motive Vs. Opportunity, where the will had been recently rewritten to leave all the dead man's money to a Phony Psychic, instead of his family. However, when the envelope that should have contained the will is opened, all it contains is a piece of blank paper. Then it's subverted, as the will is still right where it was, it was just written with disappearing ink.

Live Action TV
  • In a throwaway line from the second series of Arrested Development, Barry Zuckercorn starts talking nonsense to try to fudge the fact that he lost George Sr.'s will. He is rescued at the last minute by the fact that George isn't dead.
  • In an old episode of Poirot called 'The Case Of The Missing Will', this happens after a dying man asks Poirot to be the executor of his new will. The man dies before he can write it and the previous one is discovered missing, stolen in fact.

Theatre
  • Any Number Can Die: Just as the will is about to be read the lights go out and when they come back on the will is gone. However it is immediately revealed that Hannibal, the detective, has it. Being Genre Savvy he grabbed it before anyone else could. It later ends up missing anyway.
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