How do I obtain a copy of a Will of which I am a beneficiary?

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How do I obtain a copy of a Will of which I am a beneficiary?

The attorney who created the Will is deceased and my brother (also a beneficiary) has a copy but refuses to give me one. The Will is not in probate.

Asked on October 26, 2014 under Estate Planning, Hawaii

Answers:

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

Answered 6 years ago | Contributor

I am so sorry for your loss.  The family of the attorney who is deceased should have stored old files and/or transferred active files to another attorney upon his death.  Most states have laws that require an attorney to keep files for a certain period of time after completion.  And if the attorney had the original then the family had to make special arrangements for it's transfer.  You should then contact the person to whom it was transferred about probate.  Now, who the relative is may matter.  If it is someone that you would inherit from under the intestacy statute in your state then you could force your brother and the executor's hand by filing to be appointed as the administrator of personal representative of their intestate estate. But really all the facts of the matter will determine the best course for you.  I would pay an attorney a consultation fee and figure it out.  Good luck.

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

Answered 6 years ago | Contributor

I am so sorry for your loss.  The family of the attorney who is deceased should have stored old files and/or transferred active files to another attorney upon his death.  Most states have laws that require an attorney to keep files for a certain period of time after completion.  And if the attorney had the original then the family had to make special arrangements for it's transfer.  You should then contact the person to whom it was transferred about probate.  Now, who the relative is may matter.  If it is someone that you would inherit from under the intestacy statute in your state then you could force your brother and the executor's hand by filing to be appointed as the administrator of personal representative of their intestate estate. But really all the facts of the matter will determine the best course for you.  I would pay an attorney a consultation fee and figure it out.  Good luck.


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