Walled Lake, MI asked in Estate Planning and Probate for Indiana

Q: Stepfather passed away 3 months ago. My mom passed 4 years ago. My stepfather's daughter has his original will but has

Not filed probate yet. Stepfather' s lawyer said he cannot file with a copy of the will. How can I force the stepdaughter (my stepsister) to start probate? I have no idea if I am a beneficiary in the will and no way of finding out because lawyer can't tell me what is in the will and step sister hasn't started probate process. State of Indiana

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1 Lawyer Answer
William J Webster
William J Webster
  • Estate Planning Lawyer
  • Westfield, IN
  • Licensed in Indiana

A: In general you need the original Will to open and estate, however in certain circumstances you can open an estate w/ a copy of the Will. In this case, if someone has the original Will and fails to produce it or it's in the "lock box" at the bank, etc... You can open an estate with a copy and then compel the party to produce the original Will.

If the daughter is the Personal Rep and will eventually be the attorney's future client for the estate, he or she may be reluctant to take any aggressive actions to obtain the original Will.

Given the family dynamic, you may want to seek legal counsel in the matter. If you have any additional questions or interested in seeking representation, please feel free to call me at 317-565-1818.


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