What to do if a person died who had a Will but it was never filed with the court?

UPDATED: Oct 19, 2012

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What to do if a person died who had a Will but it was never filed with the court?

The Will left assets to a beneficiaries (children). The survivng spouse gave some of those assets to some of the beneficiaries but did not honor all the bequests of the Will. Does a surviving spouse have to file the Will or can they claim there wasn’t one? The assets that were given away were valued over $100,000. Does the person who inherited those assets have to pay taxes?

Asked on October 19, 2012 under Estate Planning, Oregon


Catherine Blackburn / Blackburn Law Firm

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

These are a lot of questions.  It sounds like the deceased had some substantial assets to be distributed.  If so, you would be well served to consult a lawyer in the area where the person died to help you handle this matter.

If the spouse refuses to disclose the will or open an estate, one or more of the children can open an estate.  You will need the help of a lawyer to do this, especially if the spouse is adverse or hostile to the matter.

Inherited money is not taxed to the recipient.  It might be taxed to the estate, but $100,000 is well under the current estate tax exemptions.

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