If I’m a beneficiary in a Will that didn’t go through probate, how do I get a copy if the executor won’t give me one?

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If I’m a beneficiary in a Will that didn’t go through probate, how do I get a copy if the executor won’t give me one?

Is this something I can file by myself through the courts for a fee and, if so, what’s the fee usually called? Or do I need an attorney and, if so, what kind? If it’s about property, which I want to sell afterwards, would a property lawyer be able to handle both?

Asked on June 1, 2015 under Estate Planning, California

Answers:

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

Answered 6 years ago | Contributor

What do you mean it did not go through probate?  Was there any proceeding filed at all in the Probate Court?  If thre was then you needed to object becuase it was filed as if there was no Will.  You need to compel the executor to file a probate proceeding.  I would strongly suggest you seek legal help in a consultation basis at first to determine the status of the estate and how you need to proceed.  If all assets passed via operation of law (like a joint tenancy with rights of survivorship or with a beneficary designation in effect) then there may have been no estate to probate.  So get all the facts straight first.  Good luck.


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