How to obtain a copy of my father’s will.

My step family is withholding whatever
my father left to me in his will. They
have not provided me a copy and I went
to the probate clerk for a copy, but
they never filed it. What are my options
now? I have no idea what lawyer was used
for the will. I’m hitting brick walls
with every move I make.

Asked on January 19, 2018 under Estate Planning, Illinois

Answers:

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

Answered 1 year ago | Contributor

Since you are a child of the deceased, then whether or not there is a Will affects your rights. You therefore have a stake or "standing" in the matter. This stake gives you the right to bring a legal action to view your father's Will. That having been said, you may not have been named as a beneficiary in it. The fact is that a parent can disinherit a child. Also, some assets pass outside of probate to the listed beneficiaries. For example, proceeds from  IRA's, certain pension benefits, 401's, etc. Finally, if it turns out that he had no Will, then he died "intestate" which means that as their heir you are entitled to a portion of their estate. At this point, you should consult directly with a local probate attorney as they can best advise you further.

Related article: Treatment of Step-Children and Out-of-Wedlock Children in Your Will; Who is entitled to a copy of a will?


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