How soon after a person dies must their Will be entered into probate?

My mother died last week in FL; I am in PA. Her husband said there is a Will but mom told him that it couldn’t be read until he dies (current age 72). How do I validate what her husband said? How do I get access to the Will?

Asked on August 26, 2011 Pennsylvania

Answers:

M.T.G., Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

I am so sorry for your loss.  Some states do have laws about Wills being offered for probate within a certain time frame but more likely than not there is not set date in your state.  If the Will is offered way after someone passes away the courts tend to request an affidavit as to why it was never probated before.  But this request sounds quite odd.  Although I am sure that her husband is grieving as well, not letting you see the Will is odd, to say the least.  As is the request.  It is possible, remember, that all her assets passed to her husband as joint tenant with rights of survivorship when she passed away.  Once that occurs then they are his to do with as he pleases.  So I think that you should consider hiring an attorney to inquire about the Will and to ask about a probate proceeding.  You may need to force his hand and apply to be appointed as the Administrator of her estate (for someone who dies without a Will) in Florida.  Good luck.


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