How do I know if my father had a will

UPDATED: Jul 9, 2017

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How do I know if my father had a will

He died last month

Asked on July 9, 2017 under Estate Planning, Ohio


M.D., Member, California and New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 5 years ago | Contributor

You can check with the Probate Court in the county where your father resided to see if a Will was filed with it for safekeeping. Also, you can question other family members or his friends to see if he mentioned the existence of a Will to them. If that is of no help, then check for a letter or business card from an attorney. If you find one, contact that person and ask if they drafted a Will for your father. If you can't locate the lawyer any other way, start calling attorneys in town to see if they drafted a Will for him. If that doesn't work, you could try and contact any adviser that your father may have had such as a finacial planner, etc.) to see if they know something. Additionally, you can place a "lost will" ad in the local newspaper. Further, if he had a safety deposit box, look there. If that's not successful, then go through any papers that you can find in file cabinets, desk drawers, in the back of closets, etc. Further, you should be aware that some assets pass out side of probate such as life insurance proceeds, funds in a pension, IRA's, 401k's, etc., so these will not be listed in the Will, should you find it. Finally, if there is not Will, then his estate will be disitributed via "intestate succession" which is controlled by state law. Typically, a surviving spouse (if any) and the children of the deceased are the heirs. You can apply to be appointed the personal representative (this is like an executor when there isn't a Will) by the probate court. At this point, you can consult directly with a probate attorney for further information.

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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