Q: My father died 7 years ago. How do I find out if the Estate was probated or not?
I was sent a letter from the lawyer asking if I wanted $50k instead of waiting 18.5 years until Executor dies. How do I know if I was suppose to receive my inheritance (feasibly more than $50k) years ago?
A: Ask the attorney of record for the probate or, alternatively, go to the probate court clerks's office (in person) in the county of the deceased's residence at the time of death and ask for assistance in locating the documents. In most cases, the probate clerk will be able to look up the estate information by using the decedent's legal name, and if an estate has been opened, you will be able to view the actual probate file and request copies of applicable documents. There will be a fee for the documents.
A: If the estate was probated, you should contact the probate court where your father lived when he passed away to see if a probate was opened and, if so, if and how property was distributed. Depending upon the county, some of this information may be online. Otherwise, you will need to go to the court to examine the file. If the estate was administered through a trust, there is likely no record of the administration by the court, and you would need to contact the trustee or their attorney. You can also contact the attorney who sent you the letter for further information and a copy of the will, trust, accountings, and probate file. However, before you sign anything, you should review your case with your own attorney to make sure that your rights are adequately protected.
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