How do I know if mom has a will or has not? 21 Answers as of April 21, 2014

Mom’s will was destroyed by my sister, I am sure. Now, she has done a quitclaim on my mom’s building in her name. She has the power of attorney and took over her accounts and safety deposit boxes. No one else got anything. There was a will to equally divide her assets among her four children. I never saw it but was told about it. My sister said there was no will.

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LAW OFFICE OF ROBERT I LONG
LAW OFFICE OF ROBERT I LONG | Robert I. Long
If an attorney was employed to write the will, he or she will, upon request, produce a copy of it to persons named in it to receive or serve as executor, once mom is dead, but not before. Sometimes a local bar association will run a notice to the local bar asking anyone with knowledge to step forward.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 4/21/2014
Law Office of Nathan Wagner
Law Office of Nathan Wagner | Nathan J. Wagner
The power of attorney does not give your sister authority to quitclaim the house. If there is no will, the property would presumably go to all the children in equal shares. You should talk to a local probate attorney about this situation. They can help you decide whether to start a probate proceeding.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 4/15/2014
Law Ofices of Edwin K. Niles | Edwin K. Niles
It is possible to probate a lost will. You should see a probate lawyer ASAP.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 4/15/2014
Law Office Of Victor Waid
Law Office Of Victor Waid | Victor Waid
Assuming there was no will, then mom's children should receive an equal share of the estate; and Powers of attorney die at death of mom. Obtain the services of a probate litigation lawyer to petition for probate and an accounting of the assets.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 4/15/2014
Morrin Law Office
Morrin Law Office | Robert A. Morrin
If you believe your sister is misusing estate assets then it may be in your best interest to hire an attorney to protect your interests regarding the estate, especially if there is no Will. You may certainly check with the local district court and ask them to do a search or show you how to search for her Will. In Kentucky, Wills are almost always recorded after death and not before so it's not likely it was recorded. You would search in her safe deposit boxes and her house for the Will. If an Executor or Administrator has not been appointed over your mother's estate then you will likely want to apply for appointment. To do this you will want to have an attorney representing you and walking you through this legal process.
Answer Applies to: Kentucky
Replied: 4/15/2014
    Goldsmith & Guymon
    Goldsmith & Guymon | Dara Goldsmith
    There is no easy answer. You can contact attorney in the area where your mother resided to see if they prepared a Will for her. You can check to see if one was lodged with the courthouse. Basically you will need to do a lot of leg work. There may be an issue with regard to the transfer of the home. You may want to address that issue with an estate or guardianship attorney to address fiduciary duties of your sister and how the transfer occurred.
    Answer Applies to: Nevada
    Replied: 4/15/2014
    Minor, Bandonis and Haggerty, P.C.
    Minor, Bandonis and Haggerty, P.C. | Brian Haggerty
    If there was no will, then the four children take equally. Get a lawyer NOW.
    Answer Applies to: Oregon
    Replied: 4/15/2014
    Danville Law Group | Scott Jordan
    Is your mother still alive? If she is, have you asked her? If she is not, it sounds as if your sister is committing a fraud and you will need to act quickly. Please contact a local probate litigation attorney for immediate assistance.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 4/15/2014
    Frederick & Frederick PLC | James P Frederick
    The presence or absence of a Will is not the key issue, here. It sounds like a Will would have done the same thing as Michigan intestate law, in the absence of a Will. The bigger issue is the deed. Your sister could not have "done a quit claim." Only your mother could execute a quit claim deed. If your sister signed a deed acting under the POA, then it would not be appropriate. If that is your situation, then the deed can likely be overturned. It sounds like your sister is not going to agree to this on her own. You will need an attorney to assist you with this.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 4/15/2014
    Kokish & Goldmanis, P.C.
    Kokish & Goldmanis, P.C. | Bernard H. Greenberg
    Your option to resolve this is contact an attorney specializing in estate litigation.
    Answer Applies to: Colorado
    Replied: 4/15/2014
    Sebby Law Office
    Sebby Law Office | Jayne Sebby
    You don't say if your mother is still alive or has passed away. A person who has power of attorney for financial matters may have the right to put her name on certain things like bank accounts and safety deposit boxes. But the POA has a fiduciary duty to act in the best interest of the person who granted that power and can not automatically convert everything to her own name solely for her own benefit. Once the grantor has died, the POA ends automatically and an executor of the estate must be appointed by a probate court. If your mother has passed away and you know the name of the attorney she worked with to draft the will, contact him or her to see if a copy exists. If your mother is still alive and legally competent, she can execute a new will.
    Answer Applies to: Nebraska
    Replied: 4/15/2014
    The Schreiber Law Firm
    The Schreiber Law Firm | Jeffrey D. Schreiber
    One essential fact is missing. Is your mother deceased? If so, if she did not have a will or if a will cannot be produced, then the intestacy laws of the state where she lived will control, and it is that law which states what happens to her property. Each state has slightly different provisions, but generally if there is no surviving spouse, then the property is divided equally between the children. Further, a Power Of Attorney is void at the death of the person who granted the power of attorney. So if the transfers occurred after the mother's death, they should be able to be reversed as void. Even if the mother was alive, someone with a Power Of Attorney is required to act in the best interests of the person who gave them the power - your mother. If your sister made the transfer for her own benefit, and not to have funds to assist your mother financially for example, then she has breached her duty. Your should consult with an experienced probate attorney to properly advise as to your rights and what recourse you may have.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 4/15/2014
    Gates' Law, PLLC | Thomas E. Gates
    Since there is no will, all of the siblings share equally in the estate. You need to retain a probate attorney. In addition, the POA is no longer in effect once your mother died. Hence, the property transfer is not valid.
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 4/15/2014
    Home Town Law, P.A.
    Home Town Law, P.A. | Sabina Tomshinsky
    Generally a custodial of the will must deposit it with the clerk of court within 10 days of passing. If your mother has passed away, the power of attorney no longer has any effect. You really need to consult with a probate attorney in your area to ensure that your interests are protected.
    Answer Applies to: Florida
    Replied: 4/15/2014
    Law Offices of George H. Shers | George H. Shers
    If there is no will, then the assets would be equally split among the four children. On death of the person giving the power of attorney, the grant of that power ends. Since a house is involved, the estate will have to go through probate so that title can legally pass to the children.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 4/15/2014
    Musilli Brennan Associates PLLC
    Musilli Brennan Associates PLLC | John F Brennan
    I suspect that the only thing that you can do is to hire an attorney to investigate the matter. If you know who, what attorney, your mother consulted with regarding her estate plans it is possible that there may be a copy of the well in his file. Additionally, if there is no will the property would generally, under most state law, be equally divided to the heirs, in this case the children. Additionally, it would seem that there is some question at least in your mind about the propriety of your sister's use of your mother's power of attorney granted her. Again, I would recommend you seek the help of counsel.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 4/15/2014
    Peters Law, PLLC
    Peters Law, PLLC | Mark T. Peters, Sr.
    Okay, if the quitclaim was after mom died, sis did not have the authority to do that. The POA ended on mom's death. If she did it before, you should talk with an attorney about a breach of fiduciary duty by sis. If mom died, then the quitclaim, you need to open a probate estate because even without a will, the property should have been divided equally by the children. You really need to talk with an attorney now.
    Answer Applies to: Idaho
    Replied: 4/15/2014
    Ashcraft & Ashcraft, Ltd.
    Ashcraft & Ashcraft, Ltd. | Randall C. Romei
    If there is no Will the estate is divided according to the rules of descent and distribution. The children of the deceased would receive equal shares. The POSA is ineffective after the death of the principal, your mother. Any act to change the ownership after your mother died would be a breach of the fiduciary duty and without legal effect since the power of attorney expires with the death of the principal. If the assets were transferred before your mother's death the issues become trickier. Can you prove your sister acted without the approval of your mother or against her expressed interest. If so the agent may have exceeded her authority. It is sometimes possible to probate a lost will if it can be established that the Will was lost rather than revoked by the testator. You would have to locate a copy that indicates the Will was executed.
    Answer Applies to: Illinois
    Replied: 4/15/2014
    Law Office of Andrew Oostdyk
    Law Office of Andrew Oostdyk | Andrew Oostdyk
    If your mother has passed away, your sister should no longer have power of attorney. Your mother's estate needs to be probated and have an executor/executrix named. If there is not a will, the estate is intestate and would be divided per the laws of the state. If your mother was not married at the time of her passing, the estate would be divided equally among the children.
    Answer Applies to: Texas
    Replied: 4/15/2014
    James Law Group
    James Law Group | Christine James
    Get an attorney. If there was no will she had no right to do that unless there was a trust. Attorneys can work with you on fees.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 4/15/2014
    Law Office of Pamela Braynon | Pamela Y. Braynon
    If mom is living, then you'll have to ask her if she has a will. Once a will is made, the testator (person writing the will gets the will and places it wherever they want. It's up to the person to tell whomever she wants where the will is.
    Answer Applies to: Florida
    Replied: 4/15/2014
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