How do I know if my dad left a will

UPDATED: Sep 30, 2022

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How do I know if my dad left a will

My dad die in New Jersey, his wife said there
was no will. She tried to bury him with telling
us. She told us to come pick up his personal
belongings. But she never pick up phone or
answer door .After the funeral she was never to
be seen.

Asked on January 19, 2017 under Estate Planning, Florida


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 5 years ago | Contributor

Until and unless someone files the will in probate or surrogate's court to probate it, there is no central record or database of wills: that is, when someone creates a will, the fact that he did is not recorded anywhere. Unless someone who knows about the will (a friend who heard him discuss it or, better yet, held a copy for him; the lawyer who wrote the will; etc.) tells you about it, there is no way to know if there was or was not a will. So if his wife did not know of the will, or lost it, or deliberately tore it up and threw it out, there is no way to tell, unless you are lucky enough to have someone with knowledge tell you. If you know who his lawyer and/or accountant were, try contacting them--they may know. If he had siblings or close friends he may have confided in, try them. And contact the probate court clerk's office in the county in which he lived to see if any will was filed. But that's about all you can try, and success is not guaranteed.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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