Do I have a right to see my father’s Will?

Get Legal Help Today

 Secured with SHA-256 Encryption

Do I have a right to see my father’s Will?

Dad’s funeral was this past week. I feel confident he mentioned me in the Will. What do I do if my step-mother has it?

Asked on May 1, 2011 under Estate Planning, Oklahoma

Answers:

M.D., Member, California and New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

If there is actually a Will, it will have to be entered into probate. At that point, any beneficiaries should be notified of their inheritance.  If you have been notified then possibly you weren't left anything.  The fact is that children have no automatic inheritance rights under a Will. In other words they can be disinherited (although, as a general rule, the Will should contain specific language of disinheritance). 

Further, you should also be aware that certain assets can be transferred outside of probate.  For example, if your father had a small estate, property may have been transferred by affidavit.  Additionally, some assets may have been held as "joint tenants with right of survivorship", in which case the other joint tenant would have received your father's share of property operation of law.  In addition, funds in an IRA, pension, 401(k), or other retirement plan also by-pass probate and go directly to the named beneficiaries.  The same holds true for any life insurance proceeds.

That having been said, once the Will is filed you can still see a copy of the Will whether or not you're a beneficiary; it is a matter pf public record.  Simply go to the Probate Court in the county in which your father was domiciled at the time of his death.  This is where it would be filed.  

Note:  If it turns out that your father died without a Will, then he is said to have died "intestate".  Accordingly, the laws of the state where he died would control.  Typically in such a case, the estate is divided between a surviving spouse, if any, and all of the deceased's children.


IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although AttorneyPages.com has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

Get Legal Help Today

Find the right lawyer for your legal issue.

 Secured with SHA-256 Encryption