Q: My 4 children's father recently passed away. His current wife says their is no will but he showed it to me beforehand.
She is now selling the house and getting rid of possessions I
Feel my kids have rights to. What do I do and how do I find out where the will is.
A: If you or your children know who the attorney was that drafted the will, you could reach out to that attorney and ask for the original or a copy. If the original is not found, one of your children could ask the court to probate the lost will, if its contents are known. There is a presumption that a lost will was revoked or destroyed by the decedent intentionally, but that presumption may be overcome by affirmative evidence to the contrary.
In Kansas, the heirs at law are the children of the decedent. The spouse may be entitled to a share of the estate, that varies to some extent based upon the number of years of marriage and several other factors. If the house or other real estate was owned by the decedent and his spouse as joint tenants with right of survivorship, she may be the sole person with an interest in the real property. Other assets may pass directly to named beneficiaries based upon transfer on death designations.
If your children believe there are assets of their deceased father that require probate, they may file a petition to probate the estate and have an administrator appointed. The administrator would have the authority to demand access to assets that are the decedent's sole property including, if it exists, an original will.
Your children need to consult with an attorney at the earliest possible time. The best course of action depends upon the specific facts of the situation that the attorney and the children will need to identify. The details of the situation may call for a specific course of action that is time-dependent.
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