How do I know if my dad left a will

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How do I know if my dad left a will

My dad die in New Jersey, his wife said there
was no will. She tried to bury him with telling
us. She told us to come pick up his personal
belongings. But she never pick up phone or
answer door .After the funeral she was never to
be seen.

Asked on January 19, 2017 under Estate Planning, Florida

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

Until and unless someone files the will in probate or surrogate's court to probate it, there is no central record or database of wills: that is, when someone creates a will, the fact that he did is not recorded anywhere. Unless someone who knows about the will (a friend who heard him discuss it or, better yet, held a copy for him; the lawyer who wrote the will; etc.) tells you about it, there is no way to know if there was or was not a will. So if his wife did not know of the will, or lost it, or deliberately tore it up and threw it out, there is no way to tell, unless you are lucky enough to have someone with knowledge tell you. If you know who his lawyer and/or accountant were, try contacting them--they may know. If he had siblings or close friends he may have confided in, try them. And contact the probate court clerk's office in the county in which he lived to see if any will was filed. But that's about all you can try, and success is not guaranteed.


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