Can my husband demand to see his father’s Will?

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Can my husband demand to see his father’s Will?

My father-in-law passed last year. He was married twice. In the first marriage he had one child, my husband, and in his second marriage he had another child. When he passed, he was still married in his second marriage. Yesterday his wife called and said all his things several cars and antiques had been auctioned off and sold without our knowledge. This, of course, upset my husband. Before he passed his wife told us a Will had been put in place.

Asked on July 2, 2018 under Estate Planning, California

Answers:

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

Answered 3 years ago | Contributor

If there was a Will and it has been admitted into probate, then it is now a matter of public record so you (or anyone else for that matter) has a right to obtain a copy from the court. If it has not yet been probated then, as your father's child, you can still get a copy of the Will since you are what the law terms an "interested party". This is someone who would have inherited if there had there been no Will (pursuant to something called "intestate succession"). Accordingly, since whether or not there is a Will affects your rights, you have a stake in the matter. This stake gives you the right to bring a legal action to view the Will. You should note, however, that you may not even be named in the Will. The fact is that a parent an disinherit a child. Also, some assets pass outside of probate to the named benenficiares such proceeds from  IRA's, certain bension benefits, 401's, etc. Finally, if it turns out that your father had no Will, then he died "intestate" which means that as his heir you are entitled to a portion of his estate. At this point, you may want to consult directly with a local probate attorney.


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