Wendell, NC asked in Probate for North Carolina

Q: Is there a database of wills recorded by lawyers?My stepmom now claims there is no will. Before death, a will spoken of.

My father mentioned their will a few times over the years. My Step mom mentioned the will just days before his death. She stated she would get everything. I discovered she closed estate on same day it was filed. She stated no will existed or has been found. Upon my request to see his will, a year after his death, she had her lawyer send me letter stating she gets everything since property/accounts held jointly and no will existed. The letter stated I was entitled to nothing. I have been bewildered. My father was diagnosed with cancer two years prior to death. We were close. He had mentioned a will in the past. He asked me for my SS# years ago, to add me as a type of beneficiary to an account of some kind. But now there is no will??

Since this is legally now intestate, because of how my step mom filed, I guess Im entitled to nothing?

They lived and she still lives in Leland NC, I am in Wendell NC.

I’m ready to move on but hard to let go of this matter. Help?

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1 Lawyer Answer
Sara W. Harrington
Sara W. Harrington
Answered
  • Probate Lawyer
  • Chapel Hill, NC
  • Licensed in North Carolina

A: There is no database to find out whether someone had a will and, if so, who drafted it. You contact local attorneys' offices, let them know your father is deceased and see if they have a will for him on file. You can also go to the Clerk's office with his death certificate and see if they have his will in their vault.

If your father's financial accounts listed her as the beneficiary or TOD, then she would receive those assets outside of the estate -- whether or not there was a will.

Regarding real estate and personal property, such as vehicles, furniture, cash on hand, money owed to him, accounts without a named beneficiary, etc., the laws of intestate succession require that those assets be divided between the spouse and the children. The percentage is determined by the number of children.

I recommend you contact an attorney in the county where your father lived and consult with them.

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