Where can I go to look at my deceased fathers Will?

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Where can I go to look at my deceased fathers Will?

Would it be in the records of a court house? My step-mother is still alive.

Asked on November 14, 2010 under Estate Planning, Arkansas

Answers:

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

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

First of all, are you sure that he had a Will?  If not,  you can ask friends or other family members if they know if one was drawn up.  If one was, then if you were a beneficiary you would have been notified (at least once it was presented for probate).  However, if your father did have a Will and it has been filed, you can go to the Probate Court in the county where he resided at the time of his death.  Once filed it would be a matter of public record and accordingly it can be viewed by anyone(for a small fee.    

You should be aware however that some assets can be transferred outside of probate.  For example, if your father had a small estate, property may have been transferred by affidavit or otherwise.  Additionally, some assets may have been held as "joint tenants with right of survivorship", in which case the other joint tenant would have received your father's share to propertyby operation of law.  In addition, life insurance payments and funds in an IRA, pension, 401(k), or other retirement plan bypass probate and go directly to named beneficiaries (unless the bendficiary named was his estate). 


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