What to do if my dad passed away this weekend and I’m trying to locate his Will, if one exists?

His wife and family are dodging the question so I need help trying to find out if he has an official Will and locating it. I live out of state.

Asked on September 18, 2017 under Estate Planning, California


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

Answered 3 years ago | Contributor

After the funeral, you can again check to see if your father's Will was entered into probate. If it was already filed then it is a matter of public record, so you have a right to see it. Yet, even if it has not yet been entered, you can still obtain a copy. This is because legally you are what is known as an "interested party". This is someone who would have inherited if there had there been no Will (pursuant to something known as "intestate succession"). Accordingly, since whether or not there is a Will affects your rights, you have a stake or "standing" in this. This is sufficient to give you the right to bring a legal action to view your father's Will. If in fact, it is determined that your father did not have a Will, then he died "intestate", which means that as his heir you are entitled to a portion of his estate.

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