Can the children of my dead husband refused me a copy of his will? 26 Answers as of March 21, 2013

My husband died three years ago. I am presently living in our home and paying taxes but I have not received a copy of his will. His adult children informed me that the will is in probate court or will be file with probate court. Can they do this? Also, he has a retirement and monies in the credit union that I cannot get because there is a hold on it and he died before assigning a beneficiary. What action can I take?

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Geoff Germane, Attorney at Law | Geoff Germane
As the surviving spouse of the decedent, you should have received a copy of the application filed with the court to probate the will. You are also entitled to a copy of the will. If it has indeed been filed with the court, you (and anyone else in the world that wants one) can get a copy from the court. You should contact an attorney experienced in probate administration to represent you and advise you of your rights and how to protect them.
Answer Applies to: Utah
Replied: 3/21/2013
The Krone Law Firm, LLC | Norman B. Krone
Go to the Probate Court to read the Will.
Answer Applies to: Florida
Replied: 3/20/2013
Frederick & Frederick PLC | James P Frederick
This appears to be a follow-up to your earlier question. Your best course of action is to retain a probate attorney to assist you. Once the Will is filed with the court, you will be entitled to a copy. As the surviving spouse, you have lots of options, even if the Will says otherwise.
Answer Applies to: Michigan
Replied: 3/20/2013
O'Keefe Legal Services, L.L.C.
O'Keefe Legal Services, L.L.C. | Sean P. O'Keefe
In Maryland, you may view or order a copy of your husband's will from the Register of Wills office in the county where the estate is being administered. The children may not be required to provide you a copy of the will, but you can obtain a copy on your own. Unless someone else is an authorized person to access the retirement and credit union accounts, the personal representative will have the authority to deal with assets such as those (no beneficiary designated), which are probate assets.
Answer Applies to: Maryland
Replied: 3/20/2013
Law Office of Pamela Braynon | Pamela Y. Braynon
You can petition the court, through an attorney, to probate the will. As far as his retirement is concerned, because their is no beneficiary designation, it will be distributed according to the intestate laws of the state.
Answer Applies to: Florida
Replied: 3/19/2013
    Durham Jones & Pinegar | Erven Nelson
    You can check the family court in Clark County to see if a probate has been filed yet. You can also check with the Clark County Clerk to see if they filed the will, which law requires them to do after death. If not, send a letter to the children demanding a copy of the will. You can also hire a lawyer to do so.
    Answer Applies to: Nevada
    Replied: 3/19/2013
    The Wideman Law Center, P.C. | Susan Wideman Schaible
    If the children have the will, they have a legal duty to file it with the Probate Court. The only assets which need to be probated are those assets which did not have a co-owner or beneficiary on them. As the surviving spouse you have a right to elect against the Will, and take what is called a testamentary share. You are also entitled to some "allowances" which total about $54,000. You need to see an attorney to help you through this process.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 3/19/2013
    Law Office Of Victor Waid
    Law Office Of Victor Waid | Victor Waid
    You should seek probate litigation counsel right away to file a petition into probate, particularly if your former children have not done so, and to protect your rights in the estate of your husband, and to obtain access to the retirement monies and beneficiary rights in the credit union account. DO NOT DELAY.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 3/19/2013
    Law Ofices of Edwin K. Niles | Edwin K. Niles
    You can easily obtain a copy of the will from the Superior Court in your County. There will be a small copy charge. Bear in mind that the will only acts on property in your husband's name alone. For instance, if your home was held as joint tenants (you and your husband), that property is now yours, subject to recording an affidavit re death of joint tenant.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 3/19/2013
    Minor, Bandonis and Haggerty, P.C.
    Minor, Bandonis and Haggerty, P.C. | Brian Haggerty
    Once the will is filed with the probate court, they will need to serve you notice of the probate. If they don't include a copy of the will with the notice, you can go to the courthouse and review the file. You have rights as the spouse of the deceased, which may be in excess of what you get through the will. Contact an attorney to represent you in this matter if the step-kids are going to act oppressively. If they don't open probate pretty quickly, you should consider doing it yourself.
    Answer Applies to: Oregon
    Replied: 3/19/2013
    Dennis E. Valentine Law Firm
    Dennis E. Valentine Law Firm | Dennis Valentine
    In Colorado, any one having the original will is required to file it in the district court in the county where the person lived prior to his death. Normally, the attorney for the estate would mail all heirs and beneficiaries copies of the will. You can get a copy from the court if no one will give you a copy. If there was no pre nuptial agreement, a surviving spouse is entitled to at least part of the estate up to 50% based upon how long you and your husband were married. Given the disputes that you are having, I recommend that you contact an attorney familiar with handling disputed probate matters.
    Answer Applies to: Colorado
    Replied: 3/19/2013
    DOUGLAS A. TULL, P.C.
    DOUGLAS A. TULL, P.C. | Douglas A. Tull
    The first action would be to meet with a competent probate attorney!
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 3/19/2013
    Huddleston Law Group, LPA | C L Huddleston
    If the children won't communicate with you, you need to meet with an expert probate attorney. It is probable that a letter from an attorney will break the log jam. Surviving spouses have specific rights, even though you have waited 3 years to do anything about it. I suspect the children are trying to get monies for themselves that are supposed to be yours, but there are many variables to your situation and there is no substitute for discussing them with a probate attorney. Most will not charge, or will charge only $100-$200 for an initial meeting to walk you through your story and advise you as to your options and best course of conduct. Anyone can check with the probate court in your county to see if the Will has been filed and/or an estate opened. You should do that before contacting an attorney. You can also contact the County Health Department to request a copy of his death certificate, which you will need in order to deal with his employer and obtain any retirement benefits and social security benefits to which you are may be entitled.
    Answer Applies to: Ohio
    Replied: 3/19/2013
    James Law Group
    James Law Group | Christine James
    No they cannot deny you the will. It has been 3 years - go to probate court and file a Petition for Probate stating there is no will. There will be a $435 filing fee to do this, but if there is in fact a will, it will flush it out as they will have to go file a competing petition and produce the will. Hire an attorney - this is a complex issue.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 3/19/2013
    Asset Protection and Elder Law Center
    Asset Protection and Elder Law Center | Shadi Alai-Shaffer
    Hire an attorney as soon as possible. You have rights. Sorry for your loss.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 3/19/2013
    Martin Barnes - Attorney at Law
    Martin Barnes - Attorney at Law | Martin Barnes
    The short answer is that you do have a beneficial interest in your husband's estate and your husband's children should not be withholding information from you. The estate should be opened so that your rights can be asserted. My advice is for you to visit with an Indiana attorney who can assist you in making certain that your interests are represented. I encourage to make that visit sooner rather than later. Business Card Image The information in this email is privileged and confidential. It is intended only for certain recipients, as determined by the sender. Copying and distribution of this communication by parties other than those intended recipients is strictly prohibited, without prior consent. If you receive this email in error, please notify the sender immediately at (317) 804-5058 and thereafter delete the message and destroy any hard-copies that might have been produced or generated. Receipt by anyone other than the proper recipient is not a waiver of any applicable privilege or any other legal rights, including but not limited to trade secret and/or confidentiality. Additionally, mere receipt of this email does not, on its own, create an attorney client relationship and no such relationship should be inferred. IRS Circular 230 Notice: We are required to advise you that no person or entity may use any tax advice in this communication or any attachment to (i) avoid any penalty under federal tax law or (ii) promote, market or recommend to any third party any tax-related matters addressed herein.
    Answer Applies to: Indiana
    Replied: 3/19/2013
    Kokish & Goldmanis, P.C.
    Kokish & Goldmanis, P.C. | Bernard H. Greenberg
    You can take the following actions: 1. Go to the Court and review his Will there. 2. File a Demand for Notice in the probate case. 3. Visit with an attorney who specializes in estate matters for further advice about your rights.
    Answer Applies to: Colorado
    Replied: 3/19/2013
    Scott Polsky
    Scott Polsky | Scott Polsky
    The Will is public information. If the executor or attorney for the estate will not send you a copy of the Will, you can easily obtain a copy from your county's Register of Wills for just copying costs.
    Answer Applies to: Pennsylvania
    Replied: 3/19/2013
    Sebby Law Office
    Sebby Law Office | Jayne Sebby
    This estate should have been settled within a year of your husband's death. A copy of the will should be on file at the probate court in your county you can ask to see that. You can also find out whom your husband named as executor of his estate. That person should have access to and control of all of your husband's assets and it is his or her responsibility to pay off all of the debts, including taxes and administrative expenses, and then distribute the remaining assets. You should contact an attorney to help you.
    Answer Applies to: Nebraska
    Replied: 3/19/2013
    Reger Rizzo & Darnall LLP | Kathleen DeLacy
    If in Delaware and the will was drafted before your marriage you are entitled to a percentage as well as a life estate in the home. If the Will was drafted after your marriage and you are not left anything, or even if you are but you do not agree, you can elect to take a spousal share of the estate. Any money without a joint owner or beneficiary is part of the estate and is distributed pursuant to the Will. If they have filed the Will in the Register of Wills you can go there and see it.
    Answer Applies to: Delaware
    Replied: 3/19/2013
    THE BROOME LAW FIRM, LLC
    THE BROOME LAW FIRM, LLC | Barry D. Broome
    As a spouse the will cannot be probated until you are notified and given a copy of the will. As a spouse you must receive one year of maintenance and support. That is the least you can receive. That amount is sometimes determined by the court. Get a lawyer to help you through this.
    Answer Applies to: Georgia
    Replied: 3/19/2013
    Ben T. Liu Law Office
    Ben T. Liu Law Office | Ben T. Liu
    Once the will is probated, you will be able to get a copy. It sounds like you may need an attorney to help you.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 3/19/2013
    The Law Office of David L. Leon
    The Law Office of David L. Leon | David L. Leon
    If they filed the will for probate, then it's a public record. Go to the courthouse and get a copy. If they have the will and are refusing to deliver it to the court, then you can file a motion under section 75 of the probate court and force them to deliver the will to the clerk. GET A PROBATE LAWYER NOW.
    Answer Applies to: Texas
    Replied: 3/19/2013
    Winnick Ruben Hoffnung Peabody & Mendel, LLC | Daniel N. Hoffnung
    Get an attorney. The Probate Court will have the Will.
    Answer Applies to: Connecticut
    Replied: 3/19/2013
    Richard J. Keyes Attorney at Law | Richard J. Keyes
    Contact an attorney and find out where the probate estate is opened up. You have time limits to contest a will and if there is a probate estate opened up, you need to do so as quickly as possible. If the will has not been probated, then talk to an attorney about filing a citation to produce will with the probate court.
    Answer Applies to: Missouri
    Replied: 3/19/2013
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