In what state do Iobtain a lawyer for legal help regarding a Will if it was drafted in one state but the testator died in another?

UPDATED: Sep 21, 2011

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In what state do Iobtain a lawyer for legal help regarding a Will if it was drafted in one state but the testator died in another?

My mother passed away last month. My father passed away a year earlier. We now have a Will that we need to work through. I have a sister who is also involved. My wife is on assignment for her work in overseas so I’ve been trying to work with my sister from Germany, but unfortunately this is not going well. My sister and I don’t have a great relationship. When I moved to Germany, she was living in CA (45 years). When I moved, it was decided that it would be best if my mother moved in with my sister, then in TX. My mon passed away there. Do I get a lawyer in TX or CA?

Asked on September 21, 2011 under Estate Planning, Arizona


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

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

I am so sorry for your loss and for the ensuing situation with your sister.  I am going to give you two pieces of general "rules" that apply in probates of this nature.  One is that a Will that is properly executed in one state in valid in another state.  Under the full faith and credit laws in the Untied States each state recognizes documents that are valid in another state even though the law may be slightly different in the state in which a proceeding based upon that document is brought.  Next is that a Last Will and Testament is probated in the state in which the decedent resided (legally) at the time of their death.  So if your Mother was a resident of Texas at the time of her death then you probate the Will there.  Good luck to you.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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