How can I get a copy of an agreement from my late husband’s business partners?

My husband passed away over 2 months ago and for the past few years has partnered in a business with a couple of other individuals. An agreement has been drawn up with an attorney, although after his passing I cannot find it. I’ve tried reaching out to his partners but have not received a response. I want to know what the contract states but don’t know where or how to get the agreement or who the lawyer is. What can I do to get a copy of the agreement and what is

legal my right in this?

Asked on September 7, 2017 under Business Law, New Mexico

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 3 years ago | Contributor

Before we answer your question, please accept our sympathy for your loss.
If you are the executor or administrator/personal representative of your husband's estate, as you likely are, you have the legal right to the contract: your position entitles you to anything affecting monies which may be due either from or to him.
Procedurally, however, the law does not let you demand, in a legally enforceable way that is, materials from others except in the course or context of a lawsuit; it is the filing of a lawsuit which gives the courts jurisdiction, or power, over a situation and the ability to order that something be done (like documentation turned over). Therefore, if they will not voluntarily turn over the contract, you'd have to file a lawsuit (on behalf of the estate; as executor, etc.) vs. the partners or the business (if it was an LLC or corporation) based on some reasonable allegation (e.g. a claim that you believe your husband was owed some payment from the business) and, in the course of that lawsuit, use the legal mechanism of "discovery" (e.g. document production requests) to get the contract.


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