What is the first step i take to look at my moms will?

UPDATED: Oct 1, 2022

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What is the first step i take to look at my moms will?

I’ve been told that she left her house
to me and my sister. What is the first
step i need to take?

Asked on December 2, 2018 under Estate Planning, Texas


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 3 years ago | Contributor

Wills do not need to be filed until and unless they are being probated, so if no one has tried to probate a will, it would not be filed with the court yet. Until probating, wills are usually just left in a file cabinet, in a safe deposit box, with a friend or family member, with an attorney, etc.--so check your mother's papers and files, ask her friends, talk to her lawyer (if she had one and you know who he/she is), etc. to see if you can turn one up.
Note that if she did not have a will, if she was not married, then her children (you and your sister, plus any other siblings or half-siblings) would inherit her "estate"  (what she left behind), which would include her home, so even if there is no will, you may well be inheriting.
Probate matters are complicated, even for lawyer if they are probate specialists (when my father passed, I hired a probate attorney to help me): if you think you may be inheriting a house, then unless it is underwater on a mortgage (and so not worth anything), it is well worthwhile to hire a probate lawyer to help you work through this. Good luck. 

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