Does a paid lawyer have to probate a Will or can it be read by the court?

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Does a paid lawyer have to probate a Will or can it be read by the court?

My mother’s boyfriend passed away and in his Will (my mother has a copy) he requested that my mother be allowed to live in his home as long as she likes. His children are contesting this (not legally, yet) and my mother would like to have the Will read but does not have the $1200 the lawyer who wrote the Will is requesting. Can the court read the Will or must she pay the attorney fee?

Asked on April 13, 2011 under Estate Planning, Mississippi

Answers:

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

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

I am so sorry for your situation.  This is a tough question to give any guidance on in this type of forum and without being abot to read the Will and know more.  First, your Mother has a copy of the Will.  Who has the original?  The attorney?  You must submit an original Last Will and Testament in to the Court.  A copy can only be submitted after it has been verified that the original was lost or destroyed and after the copy has been verified as accurate.  Now, a Will does not always have to be probated - but it should be - and only when there are competing interests (like your Mother versus his children) is it absolutely necessary that it be done.  I would worry here that the kids will not probate the will and let the intestacy statute take over which would cut your Mother out completely.  It might be best to pay the attorney who has the will to probate it.  The estate pays the fees (so your Mother would be reimbursed) but then we have the issue of who is the executor here?  You need legal help.  Good luck.


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