How do you find out if the Will has been sent to probate or how to get a copy?

My husband’s mother passed away 2 months ago and we haven’t recieved a copy of the Will; the family will not provide it. He is very ill and may go into hospice care.

Asked on March 25, 2018 under Estate Planning, Massachusetts

Answers:

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

Answered 2 years ago | Contributor

If the Will has been filed for probate then it is now a matter of public record, so you or anyone else for that matter can get a copy from the probate court. Even if it has not been probated, then the executor is under a legal duty to let you see it. The fact is that if your husband is what the law terms an "interested party". This is someone who would inherit if no Will existed (pursuant to something known as "intestate succession"). Accordingly, since whether or not there is a Will affects his rights, he has a stake or "standing" in the matter of his mother's estate. This stake gives him the right to bring a legal action to view the Will. That having been said, he may not even be named in it; the fact is that a parent can disinherit a child. Also, some assets pass outside of probate and go to the named benenficiares of such assets (e.g. proceeds from  IRA's, certain pension benefits, 401's, etc.).

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

Answered 2 years ago | Contributor

If the Will has been filed for probate then it is now a matter of public record, so you or anyone else for that matter can get a copy. Even if it has not been prbated, then the executor is under a legal duty to let you see it. The fact is that if your husband is what the law terms an "interested party". This is someone who would inherit if no Will existed (pursuant to something known as "intestate succession"). Accordingly, since whether or not there is a Will affects his rights, he has a stake or "standing" in the matter of his mother's estate. This stake gives him the right to bring a legal action to view the Will. That having been said, he may not even be named in it; the fact is that a parent can disinherit a child. Also, some assets pass outside of probate and go to the named benenficiares of such assets (e.g. proceeds from  IRA's, certain bension benefits, 401's, etc.). 


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