How to obtain a copy of my father’s will.

UPDATED: Oct 1, 2022

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How to obtain a copy of my father’s will.

My step family is withholding whatever
my father left to me in his will. They
have not provided me a copy and I went
to the probate clerk for a copy, but
they never filed it. What are my options
now? I have no idea what lawyer was used
for the will. I’m hitting brick walls
with every move I make.

Asked on January 19, 2018 under Estate Planning, Illinois


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

Answered 3 years ago | Contributor

Since you are a child of the deceased, then whether or not there is a Will affects your rights. You therefore have a stake or "standing" in the matter. This stake gives you the right to bring a legal action to view your father's Will. That having been said, you may not have been named as a beneficiary in it. The fact is that a parent can disinherit a child. Also, some assets pass outside of probate to the listed beneficiaries. For example, proceeds from  IRA's, certain pension benefits, 401's, etc. Finally, if it turns out that he had no Will, then he died "intestate" which means that as their heir you are entitled to a portion of their estate. At this point, you should consult directly with a local probate attorney as they can best advise you further.

Related article: Treatment of Step-Children and Out-of-Wedlock Children in Your Will; Who is entitled to a copy of a will?

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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