How can I find out if father had a Will?

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How can I find out if father had a Will?

My father was married and had 2 children by his wife. He, then, got involved with my mom and had me when he and his wife were separated. He and his wife got back together and remained married until his wife died in 01/10. My father then passed away a month ago. I have just recently sent them a letter to let half-siblings know that I wanted to know if he had a Will. My half-sister responded to my letter stating that before anything she wants a DNA test. I agreed to it. My dad isn’t on my birth certificate and I don’t have his name. When DNA proves it, what are my rights?

Asked on May 4, 2011 under Estate Planning, California

Answers:

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

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

I am so sorry for your loss.  You, as a child of your Father, have a right to inherit from his estate as long as certain conditions exist.  By that I mean, if your Father wanted to disinherit you from his estate then generally speaking - as it differs from state to state - he would have to acknowledge you in his Will and then specifically disinherit you.  He could also leave you something but not a full share as a sibling and then put in a no contest clause in the Will.  If he did not name you specifically you could possibly contest the Will to get your share under the law.  If he dies intestate- without a Will - then you should share equally with your half siblings.  State laws differ there so you need to check the intestacy statute in California.  If your siblings filed the Will for probate you can see it as the Will is a public record.  It would be on file in the county in which your Father resided at the time of his death. Good luck to you.  


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