What are the consequences of hiding a Will from the court?

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What are the consequences of hiding a Will from the court?

My mother passed away last week. She died while living with my sister. My sister tells me that our mother had Will from when she lived out of state from before she came and moved in with my sister. My sister hasn’t told me who the lawyer is that is executing the Will . She has told that I am a beneficiary. She has told me I have to wait 3 months to get the proceeds. I don’t have a copy of the Will. I am getting the feeling that the will is being withheld from the court. How should I proceed? Is it illegal for my sister and aunts and uncle to hide the Will from the court.

Asked on March 11, 2012 under Estate Planning, New York

Answers:

Steven Fromm / Steven J Fromm & Associates, P.C.

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

The will if probated is a matter of public record, so check the register of wills in the county where your mom lived at her death.  If the will is not being submitted to probate you need to retain an estate litigation attorney to demand the production of this document.  If one is not found then you may want to petition the probate court to be named as administrator.  In any event, you need to retain an estates attorney if you expect foul play or to otherwise protect your interests.

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

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

I am so sorry for your loss.  Things must be very emotional right now for you.  You as a beneficiary under the Will and a beneficary under the intestacy laws will receive a copy of the Will as well as documentation regarding the intentio of the executor to offer the Will for probate.  If that does not happen then you can go to the probate ourt to view the Will once it is submitted.  It becoems a public record at that time. I do not know why you think that the Will is being withheld.  It does take time to get things togather.  But if no Will materialzies you should seek help from an attorney.  You will need to prove that there is a Will.  Understand that you will inherit either way. Good luck.  


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