What can we do if my wife’s mother is withholding her father’s Will?

Her father died a few months ago. Every time she asks about it, her mother gives her the runaround, saying that “she can’t find it”. Knowing what I do about this woman, I believe that she is trying to change the Will or wait a period of time so that my wife may lose what her father gave her. What can I do to help?

Asked on March 8, 2015 under Estate Planning, Pennsylvania


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

Answered 5 years ago | Contributor

I am so sorry for your loss.  This is a huge issue and it could be an uphill battle for you and she. First, if her Mother does not wish to probate the Will she may not have to.  If you have a copy you could attempt to probate and ask the court to accept the copy as the Original that was lost or destroyed.  Did he have a particular attorney that you could go to that may have a copy?  Anything listed jointly in her Father and Mother's names pass to her Mother automatically at the time of her Father's death.  I would speak to a lawyer in your area about what specifically it was that her Father was leaving to her and your options.  Good luck. 

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although AttorneyPages.com has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.