How long can my sister avoid probate on my great aunt’s Will?

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How long can my sister avoid probate on my great aunt’s Will?

My greataunt died and had no children. My sister claims to have her Will, but refuses to let anyone see it. She is already giving away items from the estate and has avoided entering probate court. How can I find out if she is really executive of the estate and how long does she have to postpone filing in probate?

Asked on January 20, 2011 under Estate Planning, Michigan

Answers:

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

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

You can force her hand.  By that I mean that you can go down to the Probate Court in the County in which your Aunt resided at the time of her death and petition to be appointed as the Personal Representative of her Intestate (i.e., without a Will) estate.  If in fact there is a valid Last Will and Testament that your sister has in her possession she will have to come forth with it.  I am guessing that there is not.  Be aware, too, that once you are appointed as the Personal Representative you will have the power to question any dissipation of your Great Aunt's estate - her giving away the stuff counts here - and have the ability to take action.  Good luck.


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