What rights does a son have as far as his mother’s estate?

UPDATED: Aug 3, 2011

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What rights does a son have as far as his mother’s estate?

My friend just found out that his mother died a week ago through a friend of his mother. His stepfather did not tell anyone. She had a Will and an estate. The son knows she did not want the stepfather to have anything. The stepfather will not tell anyone who her lawyer is, where she is buried, where her Will is, or anything. The son wants to know what he can do about the estate, his rights at this point, where the Will is, and her lawyer’s information?

Asked on August 3, 2011 Illinois


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

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

I am so sorry for your friend's loss.  If the Mother left a Will - and if the step-father submitted the Will for probate - then it will be file din the probate court in the county in which his Mother resided at the time of her death. The Will and probate are public record.  He can go and look at the file any time.  But what worries me is this:  if the mother and step-father held everything jointly then it passed to the step-father at the time of her death. What remains is her estate for probate.  If there was not a lot left and he chose not to probate the Will (unscrupulous, I know) then he would get a certain percentage of the remaining estate and your friend would get very little. He needs to seek legal help her.  He is a beneficiary and entitled to a copy of the Will and notice of proceedings.  Good luck.

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