Why would a law firm handling the estate of my recently deceased step-father attempt to contact me?

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Why would a law firm handling the estate of my recently deceased step-father attempt to contact me?

I am not entirely clear on the details, all I have been able to learn so far is that my stepfather recently passed, I was told that I had been “cited” (in the estate or Will or other documentation) and that the law firm handling the estate attempted to contact me by mail at an old address a short while back. What reasons would they have to contact me ? Would they contact me if nothing was left to me in the Will? Should I contact them directly or speak with an attorney first to get in contact with them? I’m not well versed in legal matters.

Asked on November 25, 2011 under Estate Planning, Minnesota

Answers:

L.P., Member, Pennsylvania and New Jersey Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

Thank you for submitting your question.  While it may seem a bit nerve-racking to receive some type of communication from a law firm or attorney, whether it is by mail or telephone, communication from an attorney regarding legal matters does not necessarily mean you have something to worry about.  Given your circumstances that your step-father recently passed, and it is the attorney handling his will that has contacted you, it is likely that your step-father stated your name in his will. 

There are numerous reasons that a person can be named in someone’s last will and testament.  Any time a person has some type of insurance policy, such as a life insurance policy, there could be several beneficiaries listed on the policy and all beneficiaries would be contacted.  A person could also name someone in their will for purposes of receiving property, such as a house or car.  However, a person could also leave instructions for someone to carry out, such as how to distribute property or even how to take care of a pet.  Also, there are circumstances where a person writes in their will a message to their family.  A will can be used as a way to communicate to your loved ones after you have passed.  While most people associate a will with leaving personal property, there may be other information a person wants to express than simply passing down their property. 

You should return the call to the attorney, and they will be able to provide you with the details.  If you feel uncomfortable calling, you may be able to contact an attorney in your area that handles wills and trusts matters, and they can further assist you. 

 


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