What to do if a Will was never probated?

My wife’s father died 10 years ago. The Will was never probated leaving the house, motorcycle, RV and other things to her ex-stepmother. Since the Will was never probated what does that mean for my wife and her sister? We hired a lawyer 4 years ago to see if the Will was probated and it never was. No one saw the Will except my wife’s ex-stepmother. The ex-stepjust stopped paying on the house and moved out forcing a foreclosure and the house to get auctioned off last month. What can my wife do in order to find out what she is entitled to if anything.

Asked on November 10, 2011 under Estate Planning, Texas


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

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

Okay so what DID the lawyer do for you?  Were your father in law and his wife married at the time of his death?  If the property was held jointly anyway it might have passed "by operation of law" at the tome of his death so a probate of the Will - which you state left everything to her but do you really know - may not have even been necessary.  Are there assets in the Father's name alone?  If that is the case then some one has to step up to the plate and speak with an attorney - try a different attorney okay? - about probating the remaining assets.  That means some one has to be appointed as the personal representative of his estate.  That title gives that person the right to legally inquire as to assets of the Father.  Good luck.

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