What can I do to view the contents of a supposed second Will?

My mother made her Will 15 years ago and named me executor. I have 2 siblings. All was to be divided equally. My mother went to a nursing home 4 years ago and passed last year. Now I’ve been told that she changed her Will and left all to my youngest sister. Now she’s not speaking to me or our brother, nor have we seen a new Will. How can I find out for sure if it exists and what it says?

Asked on March 29, 2017 under Estate Planning, Mississippi

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 3 years ago | Contributor

You are an interested party: someone who would have inherited under a prior will (and indeed, would have inherited had there been no will, under "intestate succession," or the rules for who gets what when there is no will). Therefore, since whether or not there is a second will, and if there is, what it says (and more basically--is it even valid?) affects your rights, you have a stake in this. That stake is sufficient to give you "standing"--the legal right--to bring a legal action to challenge this supposed will; in the process of such action, you will be able to see it. That's the good news--you should have legal recourse. The bad news is, it's only by filing a legal action can you compel the release of the information if they won't voluntarily provide it. 
The lawsuit would need to be filed in chancery court (a part or division of county court) and is substantially procedurally more complex than, say, a small claims case. While you have the legal right to represent yourself "pro se," you are strongly encouraged to retain a probate attorney to help you.


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