How do I find out if I am named in a Will and the probate status of the estate?

Question Details:The executor is my Aunt and she and I are not on speaking terms. She is also an Attorney. I am not sure If I am named in a Will or not. I never received a copy of the will no have I received any information regarding the probate status of the estate. The death was in September of 2009.

Asked 4 years ago under Wills, Trusts, Probate | 6900 Views | More Legal Topics

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M.D., Member, California and New York Bar | FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney Answered 4 years ago

In probate proceedings an executor is responsible for the prompt, efficient and impartial administration of the decedent's estate.  Part of this responsibility is to see that the Will is promptly filed with the Surrogate's Court (the court than handles probate matters in NY state).  The Court having jurisdiction is the one in the county where the decedent was domiciled at the time of their death.  If the decedent in question died in 09/09, then the Will has probably already been filed.  And at such time as it is filed, the executor, as part of their fiduciary duty, must notify all interested parties; this includes all beneficiaries.  Therefore, in your case, if you have not yet received notice from the executor (your aunt), then you are not a beneficiary of the estate; that is you have not been named in the Will.

Note:  Once a Will is filed with the Surrogate's Court it becomes a matter of public record and anyone can obtain a copy for a small fee. 

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