How to know if my dad had a Will?

UPDATED: Oct 1, 2022

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How to know if my dad had a Will?

My dad lived in Texas where he spent the last month in a hospital. He married his girlfriend of 20 years. While in the hospital by the chaplain. He had always said to his 5 kids that when he dies everything is to be sold and split evenly of course after debts are paid. He was well off with a lot of assets and investments. My new stepmother says that not long ago but after he started having medical issues wrote out a will and had 2 signed witnesses stating my brother was to recieve all the tools and a car and that the rest was to go to her. How do I find out if this is true before she sells everything?

Asked on December 28, 2017 under Estate Planning, Kansas


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

Bring an action in chancery court (a part or division of county court) seeking a court order barring her from selling anything until who gets what is fully determined; seeking a determination that there is no will and that therefore your father's children share 1/2 the estate and his wife (your stepmother) gets the other 1/2 (that's what happens in your state when someone dies and leaves behind a spouse and children); and asking that someone be appointed the personal representative or administrator for the estate (that's what you call the "executor" when there is no will). This action can be filed on an "emergent" (think: "urgent" or "emergency") basis, to get a court order in place in around a week or two holding off any disposition of property until the other issues are decided.
In this legal action, if she claims there is a will, she will have to produce it in court; if she does and it turns out to be a valid will, then whatever the will says will control who gets what.
If possible, jointly hire a lawyer together with your siblings to split the cost of legal help: this kind of legal action is complex for non-attorneys.

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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