Can I legally go into my recently deceased father’s house to look for important papers even though his wife is living there?

UPDATED: Oct 1, 2022

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Can I legally go into my recently deceased father’s house to look for important papers even though his wife is living there?

My father got married 4 years ago. He died July 10,2018. He never discussed with me, a Will or any of his other final wishes except his medical directives. He did discuss with my brother where to find his important papers in the house. As his adult children, do we have any right to have access

into his house that he purchased over 30 years prior to marrying this wife. He told me that my name is on his house but I don’t know who is his mortgage company nor his attorney if he has one. I have no idea how to go about finding out any of his business and his wife is not willing to help us at all.

Asked on August 17, 2018 under Estate Planning, Missouri


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

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

I am so sorry for your loss and the situation as it stands.  So likely you have a legal right in some respect but I would not go in to the house without consent at this point in time.  I would start by having a title search done to find the recorded mortgage and deed and that will tell you who the lien holder is.  If an attorney helped with that trasnaction there may be a record in there as well (sometimes the deed is returned to the attorney that prepared it) and that could give you a lead to who he may have trusted to prepare a Will.  You need legal help here.  Good luck.

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