Is there any way to force a Will be filed with the court and/or stop a spouse from liquidating assets willed to other family members?

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Is there any way to force a Will be filed with the court and/or stop a spouse from liquidating assets willed to other family members?

My father died Friday. His wife has not and likely will not notify his attorney so that the Will can be filed. In fact she has been busy selling of his possessions and real estate. Furthermore, I suspect a power of attorney allegedly signed by him was forged and used to obtain a quit claim deed. What can I do? She even omitted me from his obituary and listed someone who was not connected to him at all as his “daughter” I am his only daughter. This was done by her to humiliate me and according to the newspaper and funeral home there is nothing anyone can do about it.

Asked on January 4, 2012 under Estate Planning, Florida

Answers:

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

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

I am so sorry for your loss and for the situation.  While there may be nothing to do about the listing in the newspaper, there is a lot you can do about the situation.  Now, if you know that there is a Will and that his attrney has it (the original I hope) then you need to get it and start the probate proceeding in court to file it.  If it is not the original and you can not get it then you have tw chosices: to try and prove the copy as the original or consider filing as if he died with out a Will, called "intestate."  Who is named as the executor of the Will?  That may guide your decision.  Now, once there is a peronal representative appointed they will have the power to make sure that the estate is properly handled.  There is a lot that you need to know here.  Get some legal advice in your area.  Good luck. 


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