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legal/will/inheritance Question


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My dh's father died and we know he had an accountant, lawyer, and a will, but don't know how to contact them and have not heard from them. It has been about 2yrs.

 

My dh's sister has this information and has told us the will is not allowed to be read and won't give us the lawyer or accountant's info. She has told us some things were left to us, but won't say what. This doesn't seem legal. It seems that we should have at least received a letter stating that we were not allowed to hear the will and what was left to us.

 

I know the obvious answer is get a lawyer, but we don't have the money for one and we would rather not turn this into a legal battle. We just feel we are entitled to more information than has been given.

 

Such a strange question to ask on a homeschool forum, but you all are so sharp I thought I would give it a try.

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Tell your SIL you're tape recording this meeting. Ask her for a written statment saying the will is not allowed to be read and have her explain why you are not allowed to know the executor of the will.

 

Hopefully that should spook her becuase what she's doing sounds insanely illegal.

 

If that doesn't work, then you'll (probably) have to actually get a lawyer. Or maybe you could represent yourself, I have no idea. The initial consult is often free.

 

Disclaimer- with medical advice I feel I have a little expertise since I flunked out of medical school many years ago althouh granted I forgot most of the stuff I did learn and what I knew then wasn't enough to get by. With legal stuff, I'm really just making this up.

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I'm not really too familiar with wills and such but I wonder 2 things-was there really a will?If not,it may be taking a long time for the state to sort things out.I don't know if all states do the same as mine;if there is no will,the state has to appoint someone to figure out who the heirs are and that can take a long time.Or possibly your dh (and his family) wasn't mentioned.Because my brother's and my names were mentioned in my father's will we received copies.(I think I would have rather he'd left mention of us out completely than to actually see him say that we got nothing.)

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I know the obvious answer is get a lawyer, but we don't have the money for one and we would rather not turn this into a legal battle. We just feel we are entitled to more information than has been given.

 

 

 

I would at least have a consultation with an attorney and let him/her explain your legal rights and guide you in what to do and where to go. My husband is an attorney and he helps people pretty frequently who need good advice and maybe a letter written, but who can't really afford to hire him for representation.

 

Get advice from someone about who to see, and just let him know that you need an hour or two of consultation but are hoping not to have to actually have a legal battle. I would think it would be worth a few hundred dollars just to know exactly what you need to do and to maybe have him help you let your *sister* know that you know what to do.

 

Dana

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Who is the executor? (Now called Personal Representative). If something is left you, you are part of the will. Unfortunately, what you are left may not be worth the money to go after legally. Families know this. I have termed it "financial incest"....you do things to family members you wouldn't do to strangers because a stranger would call the police.

 

Read up about executors (google) and fiduciary reponsibility. The executor can be held liable for any losses you incur because of their misbehavior. You can also petition the court to have them removed as executor if they are breeching their role. Fiduciary is important. It means that they must always have their hands above the table and make sure they are squeaky clean and not benefitting from their role.

 

I'm lucky. I have a brother who is not only an lawyer, but who'd rip his arm off before doing anything crooked. The hubby, however, is not so lucky....

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If anyone checks back in on this there is a little more info. Not much of this makes sense to me, but there is a trust and she is in charge of the trust. She has told us that none of the money from the trust can be distributed for 5 years. She said that was written into the will. The only reason we know that some items were left to us and another brother and sisters is because they (can't remember if it was her or her dh) told us. I will check to see who the executor of the will is. I am glad to hear they are held accountable to above board behavior.

 

Thanks for the advice, I will follow it. Regardless of what the will says, we would just like to know and put it behind us.

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I have heard 'around' that one of the reasons why people sometimes draw up trusts is that wills are a matter of public record, and that wills must be filed with the courts but trusts do not. I don't know for sure whether this is true in all states, but I have heard it often enough here to believe that it is true for California at least. So, if a will has been filed, you should be able to look it up at the courthouse. And if it hasn't, something might be very wrong. I think you' might not be able to legally demand to see the trust, though, unless you're willing to argue that the executor is not acting properly; and that would be a legal battle that could get pretty expensive.

 

I'm sorry you're in this rotten situation.

 

Many lawyers will do a free 1/2 hour consultation to give you an idea of whether or not you have a legal case, and what it would take to pursue it. You might want to contact your local Bar Association to get a referral.

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so I'd start there. It is quite possible that the PR has no clue what to do. For some reason even sane, easy going individuals get paranoid when made a PR and start playing cards very close to the vest. I think that they have to sign that they accept all this awesome responsibility and they are personally responsible for mistakes and they get really really cautious.

 

"Nothing can be distributed" and "need to wait 5 years" are NOT the reasons that a will can't be read. There is either something else causing the delay or you're being given a line.

 

The death needs to be registered, I would go to that county (in person or on the phone) and ask for a copy of the cert, then ask the clerk how you can check on the registration of the will as you know there is one.

 

If the clerk can't find a will resistered, then I would go from there to a lawyer's office for a consult.

 

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The death needs to be registered, I would go to that county (in person or on the phone) and ask for a copy of the cert, then ask the clerk how you can check on the registration of the will as you know there is one.

 

My fil died in Hawaii and has a will either in CA or CT. Would Hawaii know of a will in CA or CT? Would I contact someone in one of these states? Another sil really wants to contact a lawyer in CT to get more information. Maybe we will need to do that or just accept not knowing.

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