How do I find out if my father had a standing Will when he died?

How do I get a copy of my father’s Will if it is not filed through Probate? My
father’s widow refused contact and denied me access to his funeral planning and
estate settlement. I believe she is the Executor and I didn’t push for
involvement when my father passed due to a rifted family, but she did not provide
a proper burial stone for him and I want to make sure his wishes were met or if
there is a way I can make her, legally, to provide this last honorable thing.
Please provide some guidance, as I not sure what I can do but feel helpless.

Asked on August 31, 2017 under Estate Planning, New York

Answers:

M.D., Member, California and New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 3 years ago | Contributor

If your father's Will has not been entered for probate, you can still obtain a copy (assuing there is a Will). This is posible since in the eyes of the law you are what is known as an "interested party". That is someone who would inherit if there is no Will (this would be via something known as "intestate succession"). Therefore, whether or not there is a Will affects your rights, you have a stake or "standing" in this. This stake is sufficient to give you the right to bring a legal action to view the Will. If it is determined that your father did not have a Will, then he died "intestate" which means that as his heir, you are entitled to a portion of his estate. At this point, you may want to consult directly with a local probate attoreny; they can best advise you further as to specific state law.

M.D., Member, California and New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 3 years ago | Contributor

If your father's Will has not been entered for probate, you can still obtain a copy (assuing there is a Will). This is posible since in the eyes of the law you are what is known as an "interested party". That is someone who would inherit if there is no Will (this would be via something known as "intestate succession"). Therefore, whether or not there is a Will affects your rights, you have a stake or "standing" in this. This stake is sufficient to give you the right to bring a legal action to view the Will. If it is determined that your father did not have a Will, then he died "intestate" which means that as his heir, you are entitled to a portion of his estate. At this point, you may want to consult directly with a local probate attoreny; they can best advise you further as to specific state law.


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