Attorney will not release will

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Attorney will not release will

In PA (but lawyer from NY), father in law died. Son was to be named executor, that was made clear by father in law. Attorney refuses to provide copy of will. Claims to be owed $500 by father in law. Unless paid by family/son who is executor, he will not provide a copy of the will nor will he file it at the courthouse. Absolutely point blank refuses to give anyone a copy of will unless paid $500. Apparently whoever pays $500 can get copy of will. Attorney very hostile and confrontational. Had been father in law’s lawyer for some time, was not a new client or anything like that.

Asked on July 2, 2009 under Estate Planning, Maryland

Answers:

B. B., Member, New Jersey Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

I'm not a New York lawyer, so I'm not able to say whether or not your late father-in-law's attorney is allowed to hold the will for ransom like this.  However, if your father-in-law didn't have an original of his own will, that suggests that maybe he really did owe the $500 to the lawyer.  Lawyers have to get paid for their work, so they can pay their bills and eat, just like everyone else.

You need the will to get the estate taken care of.  It might well cost more than $500 to fight with the New York attorney.  I'd suggest paying for the will, and talking to the lawyer you hire to help with the estate about this, to see if it's worth following up.  If your late father-in-law's last home was in Pennsylvania, you'll need to have the estate's attorney practice there.  One place to find a lawyer in any state is our website, http://attorneypages.com

B. B., Member, New Jersey Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

I'm not a New York lawyer, so I'm not able to say whether or not your late father-in-law's attorney is allowed to hold the will for ransom like this.  However, if your father-in-law didn't have an original of his own will, that suggests that maybe he really did owe the $500 to the lawyer.  Lawyers have to get paid for their work, so they can pay their bills and eat, just like everyone else.

You need the will to get the estate taken care of.  It might well cost more than $500 to fight with the New York attorney.  I'd suggest paying for the will, and talking to the lawyer you hire to help with the estate about this, to see if it's worth following up.  If your late father-in-law's last home was in Pennsylvania, you'll need to have the estate's attorney practice there.  One place to find a lawyer in any state is our website, http://attorneypages.com


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