How do we get access to a Will to ensure we are receiving what was intended?

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How do we get access to a Will to ensure we are receiving what was intended?

My mother-in-law passed away recently. My husband and one of his brothers and his sister had not been in close contact with her for the past few years due to family conflict. We are concerned we will not be contacted by the executer because of extremely hard feelings between the executer and the other members of the family. How do we ensure we can read the will and get whatever is coming to them from his deceased mother?

Asked on March 13, 2017 under Estate Planning, Wisconsin

Answers:

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

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

First of all, the executor is under a fiduciary duty to properly administer the estate. Therefore, they are legally bound to notify any beneficiaries lisited in the Will of their inheritance. Additionally, once a Will is admitted for probate it becomes a matter of public record. Accordingly, you, or anyone else for that matter, can obtain a copy at the probate court. Finally, even if it has not yet been filed your husband can still get a copy since, as his mother's child, he is an "interested party" in her estate and stands to inherit if she died "intestate" (i.e. without a Will). Consequently, he has a right to see the Will in order to make sure that it in fact exists.

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

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

First of all, the executor is under a fiduciary duty to properly administer the estate. Therefore, they are legally bound to notify any beneficiaries lisited in the Will of their inheritance. Additionally, once a Will is admitted for probate it becomes a matter of public record. Accordingly, you, or anyone else for that matter, can obtain a copy at the probate court. Finally, even if it has not yet been filed your husband can still get a copy since, as his mother's child, he is an "interested party" in her estate and stands to inherit if she died "intestate" (i.e. without a Will). Consequently, he has a right to see the Will in order to make sure that it in fact exists.


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