How can I obtain or view my grandfather's will that my uncle has? 23 Answers as of August 20, 2013

My grandfather passed away and I know he did have a will in place. My uncle (his son) did not share his will with any of the family. He just moved in his house, got his truck, just took over everything as if no one else existed. He gave my cousin (his son) some money saying that its what my grandpa allotted him in his will and he did the same thing for my brother. Other than that he won't even speak to any of us. What can I do?

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Christine Sabio Socrates Attorney at Law | Christine Socrates
If his estate has been probated, then you can obtain a copy from the county probate court in which he resided in at the time of his death. The probate assets are only assets the decedent owned at his death that have not passed directly to a beneficiary by beneficiary designation, joint & survivor ownership, or payable on death or transfer on death designations. These assets that pass outside of probate would do so with or without a will, and without probate. Your uncle may have received these assets automatically without probate which is how he is able to make these distributions. If there is no probate, you can request a copy of the will and list of assets from your uncle. If he does not comply and you feel there is some wrongdoing here on his part (ex. fraud, coercion, etc.) , you could file an action against him in probate court.
Answer Applies to: Ohio
Replied: 8/20/2013
Edward L. Armstrong, P.C. | Edward L. Armstrong
By the way you phrased your question I am assuming that no probate estate has been opened in probate court in the county where your grandfather was living at the time of his death. If no estate has been opened you should hire an attorney and have the attorney open a probate estate for your grandfather's estate (I am also assuming your grandfather died loss that one year ago). The lawyer could open the estate as intestate, ask for supervised administration and then disclose to the court that the uncle has the will but is refusing to produce it. The court can compel him to produce the will but if he doesn't you can inventory the assets that might be part of this estate such as the personal items such as the car, clothing, bank accounts, investment accounts, etc. as well as the house the uncle moved into. You do need an attorney for this so don't waste any time and hire one.
Answer Applies to: Missouri
Replied: 8/20/2013
Law Office of Pamela Braynon | Pamela Y. Braynon
Virtually nothing. If your uncle has the will and has not gone probated it (hire an attorney and go to court with it) then there is nothing that can be done about that. Its sad that your grandfather did not give the will to any other person besides his son.
Answer Applies to: Florida
Replied: 8/20/2013
Frederick & Frederick PLC | James P Frederick
It really depends on how the assets were titled at the time of death. If your grandfather had your uncle joint on all of his assets, or designated him as the beneficiary, then he became the full owner of the estate upon your grandfather's death, and the Will is irrelevant. If the assets were all in your grandfather's name alone, then probate would be necessary, and the Will would be important. It is not clear which situation you have. The fact that your uncle was willing to gain control of the assets suggests that he may have been on the assets as a joint owner. Otherwise, he would not have any access to them, himself.
Answer Applies to: Michigan
Replied: 8/20/2013
Law Office Of Victor Waid
Law Office Of Victor Waid | Victor Waid
Not knowing how long ago all of the facts happened, you should obtain the assistance of a probate litigation lawyer to sue the uncle for production of the will, and an accounting of the assets.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 8/20/2013
    James Law Group
    James Law Group | Christine James
    File a petition to probate your grandfather's estate, and do it as soon as possible before too much time has passed that it will be more difficult to sort everything out.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 8/20/2013
    Minor, Bandonis and Haggerty, P.C.
    Minor, Bandonis and Haggerty, P.C. | Brian Haggerty
    Look at the deed ownership of the house (at the county clerk's office). Does your grandfather still own it? Did he add uncle on as a joint owner before passing away? A person can't "just take over everything;" there is always an explanation. My bank won't let my son do transactions in my bank account why would they? There is too much that is not known about your grandfather's affairs to answer your question. Clearly, though, no probate estate has been opened, or family members would have gotten notice. So I have to assume that uncle got everything set up as joint with him during your grandfather's life, and the will is meaningless. Get a lawyer started on this problem now.
    Answer Applies to: Oregon
    Replied: 8/20/2013
    James Oberholtzer, Attorney at Law
    James Oberholtzer, Attorney at Law | James Oberholtzer
    Under Oregon law, he has a duty to file the Will with the local county court. There is a problem that the courts do not want to take the Will unless someone is going to start a probate proceeding. If you take the initiative to start the probate proceeding and pay the filing fee, then he has to file it with the court.
    Answer Applies to: Oregon
    Replied: 8/20/2013
    Danville Law Group | Scott Jordan
    You can file a petition for probate and make your uncle answers your questions in front of a judge. If there is a will, he will need to present it to the judge. If none, the judge will appoint an administrator for the estate. Your uncle will likely be disqualified as the administrator based on his actions.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 8/20/2013
    Gates' Law, PLLC | Thomas E. Gates
    You do not indicate whether probate was initiated. If so, the will will be on file with the court. If there is no probate, you can petition the court for the will.
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 8/20/2013
    Law Office of Thomas C. Phipps | Thomas C Phipps
    You will have t file a petition in probate court to open an estate.
    Answer Applies to: Missouri
    Replied: 8/20/2013
    The Law Office of David L. Leon
    The Law Office of David L. Leon | David L. Leon
    If the will has been probated, it's a public record, and you can go to the courthouse (in person or online in some counties) and read it. If the will hasn't been probated, you can make a motion to the court to compel the person who has possession of the will to deliver it to the county clerk.
    Answer Applies to: Texas
    Replied: 8/20/2013
    Charles M. Schiff, Attorney at Law
    Charles M. Schiff, Attorney at Law | Charles M. Schiff
    If your uncle probated the estate, it is a public record that you have a right to view. If your uncle did not probate the estate, he is not legally appointed as the Personal Representative (Executor) and has no legal authority to act on behalf of the estate. If you believe that the estate has sufficient assets to justify taking action, you could bring a Petition to have the estate declared "intestate" (no Will) and requesting that you, or someone else, be appointed as Personal Representative. If nothing else, this would force your uncle to Petition the court for probate of the Will in his possession. This would only be worthwhile if there are substantial assets.
    Answer Applies to: Minnesota
    Replied: 8/20/2013
    Kokish & Goldmanis, P.C.
    Kokish & Goldmanis, P.C. | Bernard H. Greenberg
    File a Demand for Notice with the Probate Court and go visit with an attorney who specializes in estate litigation.
    Answer Applies to: Colorado
    Replied: 8/20/2013
    Peters Law, PLLC
    Peters Law, PLLC | Mark T. Peters, Sr.
    Somebody needs to file a probate estate, probably initially as an intestate estate. Then if the uncle does have a will, he will have to intervene and present the will.
    Answer Applies to: Idaho
    Replied: 8/20/2013
    Musilli Brennan Associates PLLC
    Musilli Brennan Associates PLLC | John F Brennan
    Get an attorney and determine what you are due, or not due. If you are in Michigan call to engage us and with the full details.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 8/20/2013
    Richard J. Keyes Attorney at Law | Richard J. Keyes
    If the real estate is in the name of your grandfather without any beneficiary designation, the real estate has to go through probate. An attorney can file with the probate court a citation to produce will and have it served on your uncle. This is how the will can ultimately be produced. You may be in quite a fight with your uncle.
    Answer Applies to: Missouri
    Replied: 8/20/2013
    Elliott Law Firm, PC | Michael K. Elliott
    Assuming that the Will has been probated, you can visit the Estate Clerk's office in the County where your Grandfather resided. The Estate File is public record, and you should be able to view a copy of the Will there. If there is no estate file that has been opened for your Grandfather, then you should seek legal counsel as the estate issues.
    Answer Applies to: North Carolina
    Replied: 8/20/2013
    Sebby Law Office
    Sebby Law Office | Jayne Sebby
    The will should have been filed with the local probate court. If this wasn't done, you can petition the court to start the probate process and direct your uncle to place the will into evidence.
    Answer Applies to: Nebraska
    Replied: 8/20/2013
    THE BROOME LAW FIRM, LLC
    THE BROOME LAW FIRM, LLC | Barry D. Broome
    The Will MUST by law be filed in the probate court. This is a public record and copies may be obtained by asking and paying a copy fee. If the Will has not been probated then file a complaint.
    Answer Applies to: Georgia
    Replied: 8/20/2013
    Reger Rizzo & Darnall LLP | Kathleen DeLacy
    If he had a will it should be on file with the Register of Wills. If he owned a home alone an estate would need to be opened.
    Answer Applies to: Delaware
    Replied: 8/20/2013
    Goldsmith & Guymon
    Goldsmith & Guymon | Dara Goldsmith
    Under Nevada law a Will must be lodged with the court within 30 days of death. Check with the courthouse where your grandfather died to see if it has been lodged and order a copy. If not, inquire by certified mail if that has been done.
    Answer Applies to: Nevada
    Replied: 8/20/2013
    Attorney At Law | James G. Maguire
    If the will was probated in court, it is a public record. Call the clerk of court of the parish where he lived, and ask for a copy of the will.
    Answer Applies to: Louisiana
    Replied: 8/20/2013
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