How to get a copy of a Will?

UPDATED: Jun 16, 2011

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How to get a copy of a Will?

My mother died. She had a Will but the attorney that drafted it has the only known copy. One son has the original but won’t show it or file it for probate. He lives in the mother’s house for free so he is not not interested in having anything changed. There are 2 other sons and 1 daughter in family. Contacted attorney that has copy (which they confirm) but will not contact us back about our paying for and getting a copy. Need it to file for probate or hiring an attorney to handle. How can we get a copy of the Will from the attorney? We can’t make the son come up with original.

Asked on June 16, 2011 under Estate Planning, Iowa


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

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

I am so sorry for your loss and for your troubles.  There are a few different options here depending on your state law. Speak with an attorney about proving the Will using the copy and compelling the attorney to produce the copy. Basically a "lost Will" issue. But you may want to go a different - and maybe easier - route.  Filing an administration and treating the matter as if your Mother died without a Last Will and Testament or "intestate."   Then the intestacy laws in your state will apply.  I am 99.9% sure that in your state you and your siblings will share equally in the estate. Once one of you is appointed as the personal representative of the estate - the Administrator - you can do something about the sibling living in the house. And you know moving forward without the Will may prompt the sibling with the Will to come forward.  Good luck.     

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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