Can a lawyer probate an old Will and keep a later Will from becoming public knowledge?

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Can a lawyer probate an old Will and keep a later Will from becoming public knowledge?

My father died almost 2 1/2 years ago. My brother and stepmother inherited everything. Some property deeded under my brother’s name is in her name. The property is under conservativeship and he can’t make any money off the property. I think my sister and I have part of that claim and they are keeping it from us. My brother’s property and his lawyer’s property join in the back (about 200 acres). Where besides the local county courthouse are copies of Wills?

Asked on October 5, 2011 under Estate Planning, Georgia

Answers:

M.T.G., Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

I am so sorry for your lossand for your ensuing problems.  You have a few different questions here so let us start with the first: can a lawyer probate an old will and keep a later Will from becoming public knowlegde?  The answer to this is that the executor offers the Will for probate and only the lawyer does so if named as the executor in the Will.  The lawyer can assist the executor in probating the Will with the legalities of filing.  And if the  lawyer is aware that there is a later Will that revokes the prior Will being offered for probate, he or she has an obligation to advise the court of the subsequent Will. Otherwise I believe it violates Cannons of Professional Ethics.  Now, if they did probate a Will you should have received notice of a time frame to object.  You may now not be able to do anything but it really depends.  I think that you need to speak with ana ttorney on the matter as soon as you can.  A Will is not always kept in a court house unless it is filed.  Family members or attorneys keep copies.  If they perpetrated a fraud then you may have a claim.  Get help.  Good luck.


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