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LegalGround >> Can you force a will to be read?


8/13/09 11:32 AM
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PatK
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 My g/f's father died last month. She has a sister with her dad and 8 half siblings from his second marriage.

4 of the kids are under 18.

He half sister who has been in the Navy less than a year has been appointed guardian, but the kids still live at home and her oldest half brother is taking care of them.

We know there is a bunch of money out there, because their mother died a little less than two years ago.

It's been a month and a half and the will hasn't been read. No one knows what is in the will or where the money is going to be going.

Half sis is dragging her ass on many things (such as having her brother get temporary custody while she's in the Navy). Allegedly, they are taking care of that this weekend, as the kids have to get physicals and register for school and her brother cannot do that since he is not the guardian.

My g/f and her sis think the half-sister is burning through the money she has access to since their dad's death.

They don't really care if they are getting anything, but they want to know what the hell is going on.

I know "reading of the will" is really kind of fiction from the movies/TV. But we're getting worried that half sis is up to no good.

Is there any way they can find out what is in there?
8/13/09 12:15 PM
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The People's Knee
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 Sorry, Pat, but I'm an idiot when it comes to probate law.  Do you know who the executor of the will is?  Has it been filed with the court yet?  Your girlfriend should probably consult with an attorney who knows the probate law of your state.
8/13/09 12:28 PM
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PatK
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 Thanks.

I know things differ from state to state. In some, you can just got to where it is filed and get it if you are a relative.

We wanted to check if there was anything to do without getting a lawyer involved.

She knows who the executor is, but we don't really trust the guy.
8/14/09 4:44 PM
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seg
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 Law varies by state, but generally whomever the executor of the estate is has a duty to file the Will with the local probate court.  This document then becomes a public record, so if you live in the area you could stop down to the probate court and ask to review the Will. 

Also, you should be able to call the probate court and ask if a Will has been filed (although calling the probate court is often like calling the DMV).

Again, laws vary by state, but generally If the g/f is listed as a beneficiary of the Will, she is entitled to receive a copy of it.  Also, it may well be that the sister is nominated as executor under the Will but the court may not have appointed her yet.

First thing I would do is call the local probate court and see if a file for the decedent has been opened.  If so, you should be able to review it.

 

8/17/09 11:35 AM
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PatK
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 Got a copy of the will on Friday.

Things will get interesting. I'm glad I'm not involved (nor is my g/f any longer).

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