If mother passed away, how can I find out if a Will was filed?

If there was no Will, what are my rights to her assets? I am the only child. She divorced my bioligical father 20 years ago. She has re-married for about 20 years. I was told that I am also the beneficiary of an insurance policy or two. How do I find out all of this information?

Asked on October 15, 2013 under Estate Planning, New York


Paula McGill / Paula J. McGill, Attorney at Law

Answered 7 years ago | Contributor


If you are asking if a probate case has been opened, you should check with the Surrogate Court in the county where your mother resided.  You may have to open up a probate case even if you are the sole heir.  You should go to the NY State Surrogate's Court website.

You don't necessarily need an attorney to handle the matter.  It all depends on the complexity of your mother's estate --  http://www.nycourts.gov/courts/7jd/courts/surrogates/proceedings/probate.shtml

 Forms are online for your convenience.  http://www.nycourts.gov/forms/surrogates/probate.shtml


Anne Brady / Law Office of Anne Brady

Answered 7 years ago | Contributor

Wills do not get "filed."  Since your mother died intestate (without a will) your state's intestacy law will apply.  Here in Arizona where I am, her husband would get everything.  However, under New York law, her husband get the first $50,000 of her estate and if there is anything left, you two split the remainder.  However, this is separate and apart from insurance policies with named beneficiaries.  You need to file claims with the insurance companies that wrote those life insurance policies.

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