Can I see a copy of the will

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Can I see a copy of the will

My parents put my brother onto the deed of their home. Then they wrote out a Will on how the home should be split up between the siblings once they pass. My mom passed away about 4.5 years ago. My father tells me that I am only getting $100 once he dies because that’s what he put in the Will. Can I get to see this Will? Does this Will have any legality since my brother owns the home anyway? Can I contest this Will even though I’m getting $100?

Asked on April 22, 2018 under Real Estate Law, Ohio

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 3 years ago | Contributor

1) The will still has legality and validity to the extent there is anything in the will which you might receive--whether that $100 or a share of the home.
2) If they added your brother as an additional owner of the home, if they added him as a tenant in common and not as a joint tenant with right of survivorship, then when they pass away, their shares of the home (e.g. 2/3, if your brother was made a 1/3, or one out of three, owner) could potentially be inherited as per the will, making you part owner of the home. If they made him joint tenant with right of survivorship or placed the home wholly in his name, then you would not inherit any part of it.
3) Since you are someone with an interest in the estate, both as someone who will inherit *something* under the will and as someone who might potentially inherit more (e.g. a share of their total non-house assets or savings, regardless of what happens to the home per 2) above) if there was no valid will (under the rules for "intestate succession," or who inherits what when there is no will), you have "standing," or a legal right, to challenge the will. Unfortunately, since the only way to force them to even show you a copy if they won't due so voluntarily, you'd have to sue and bring the legal action challenging it in advance of knowing what it actually says. Note also that it is difficult to successfully challenge a will; you have to show that coercion or some other kind of threat or control was involved in getting your parents to make it, or they were mentally incompetent when they made it, or that it was not properly signed and witnessed.
4) A will is moot or irrelevant until the person dies; you can't challenge (or have any right to see) your father's will until he passes away.


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