How do I find out what my dad left me when he died?

UPDATED: Sep 30, 2022

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How do I find out what my dad left me when he died?

My father died last week and my mother and I do not get along. My family thinks that I’m in it for the money, not true. My dad was well off and I know he left me something. He was my best friend but I don’t know how to ask. hHow do I find

out on my own?

Asked on September 17, 2016 under Estate Planning, Nebraska


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

Answered 6 years ago | Contributor

If there is in fact a Will, it will be entered into probate. At that point, any listed beneficiaries should be notified of their inheritance. If you are not so notified then perhaps you weren't left anything. The fact is that adult children can be disinherited; they have no right to inherit anything from their parents. Also, once the Will is filed you can see a copy of it whether or not you're a beneficiary because it is then a matter of public record. Simply go to the probate court in the county in which your father was domiciled at the time of his death. Additionally, as a child of the deceased you are someone who would inherit in the event that your father died without a Will, so you are an "interested party" and can demand to see the Will to make sure that one actully exists. 
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 or otherwise. Further, 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. Additionally, funds in a pension, IRA, 401(k), or other such retirement plan also by-pass probate and go directly to the named beneficiaries. The same is true for any life insurance proceeds.
If it turns out that your father died without a Will, then he is said to have died "intestate" so 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 children of the deceased. 

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 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.

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