If a person on the will is holding your money, what can you do to get it?

I was in the will of my husband’s grandmother. her estate sold and the money is now in his mom’s bank account. We were recently separated and now they will not give me my share of the money. What can I do

Asked on August 28, 2016 under Estate Planning, Washington


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

You can sue your husband's mother for the money: a will (assuming it was properly drafted, signed, executed, witnessed, etc.) is a controlling legal document; the assets of the estate *must* be distributed as per the will. If someone (another beneficiary; the executor or personal representative; etc.) does not follow the will's instructions, a beneficiary denied her portion of the estate can bring a lawsuit in surrogate's or probate court for a court order enforcing the terms of the will and requiring distribution of the money to her. Such a suit is more procedural complex than, say, the typical small claims case; you are advised to retain and attorney, such as a probate lawyer, to help you.

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