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Sunday, February 17, 2013

How to find a will

Usually when someone calls me looking for a will, they are looking for a will which has not yet been probated. In fact the need for probate is usually what caused the search in the first place. In the attached article, Ontario lawyer Donna Neff talks about a slightly more unusual situation. A son was looking for a copy of his deceased father's will because his father was due to receive an inheritance. Click here to read Ms.Neff's five tips for finding a missing will.

9 comments:

  1. im mike dean smart and im bill downies best buddie and im looking for his will

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    1. Hi Mike,

      If your friend Bill used a lawyer for anything you know of, such as buying a house or defending him on a charge, call that lawyer to see whether Bill ever asked anyone in that firm to do a will for him.

      You could also try calling other law firms in Bill's area, or perhaps close to his work, to see whether he is known to them.

      Make sure you look through his home, car, and place of work. Check the freezer, which I know sounds really odd but a surprising number of people think that's a good place for a will.

      Try to find out whether he had a safe deposit box by looking at his paperwork to see where he banked, then calling the bank to ask about a box.

      Check with any family members, including his parents, spouse or ex spouse, grown kids, and siblings.

      If you live in a province with a wills registry, call the registry to ask if he is registered (start this by going online to find info).

      If Bill had a financial advisor or banker, call them and ask whether he ever talked to them about getting a will done. If he did, they might know where he had it done.

      Because your note was so brief, I don't know whether you have any clues at all to go on. For example, do you know whether you've been appointed executor? If you haven't, you may find it really hard to get information out of anyone because of confidentiality.

      Best of luck, and if you find it, please let me know, because my fingers are crossed for you.

      Lynne

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  2. I had my enduring POA, but when my dad passsed we can not find a will. He married at 70 and now his new wife is claiming 1/2 of his estate which is comprised of all my decease mother and fathers earnings. Please help.

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    1. How long was he married to the "new" wife?

      There are certain rights that arise when you get married, and one of them is that you get to inherit some or all of your spouse's estate.

      You haven't said which province your father lived in, but in most provinces, when a person dies without a will, his or her spouse gets half the estate and the child get the other half. If there is more than one child, the spouse gets a third and the children get the other 2/3.

      You cannot stop her from getting a share of the estate. If your father didn't want that to happen, he should have made a will.

      The reason I asked how long they've been married is that there is such a thing as a "predatory marriage". That's when a person finds someone, usually quite a bit older, who is somehow vulnerable, then tricks or coerces that person into marrying them so that they can get the assets. Even though an awful lot of children from first marriages think their step-parents are predatory, they are usually wrong. I don't know the facts of your case, of course, but if they had a legitimate marriage, she's going to get a share of the estate.

      Lynne

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  3. How can we get a copy of a will in neefoundland

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    1. Most of the time, a person gets a copy of the will from the executor. If the executor won't give you one, it might be because you're a person who is not entitled to one, or it might be for other reasons. Your note doesn't really help me guess the reason.

      Another option is to do a search at the court. If the will has been admitted for probate, there will be a public record and anyone can get a copy. In Newfoundland, this can be done online by going to the supreme court of NL webpage, general division, and look for the section about searching estate records. If you find the will you want, you will have to pay $20 for it.

      Lynne

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  4. How can i get a copy of a will of a de eased person. There is a dispute with tegards to distrbution of money to a mentally disabled man. Thanks

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  5. How can I get a copy of my dad's will. He died in ontario. My step mother won't let me see it and won't tell me who the lawyer is.

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    Replies
    1. Why? What is her reason?

      Has she told you that you're not getting anything under the will? If you're not a beneficiary, then you're not entitled to a copy. As unfair as it may seem, just the fact that you're his son does not entitle you to see the will.

      If she sends the will for probate, you can get a copy from the probate court. Of course, not all wills are probated.

      I am assuming, in the face of no information to the contrary, that the step-mother is the executor of the will. If she won't give you a copy and you believe you have a right to see it, then your only recourse is to hire a lawyer to make a formal demand for a copy.

      Lynne

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