Q: Does an attorney retain a copy of a will they have prepared? Can this be provided to "any" family member after death?
My Grandmother recently passed away. Upon my Grandfather's death she had a new will prepared, 2008. She had spent the past 11 years in a retirement home and developed cognitive issues. In 2016 her niece had a new will prepared at a time when her mental capacity was in question. This will has not been filed with the court, nor any probate case opened.
I would like to obtain a copy of the will and initiate probate myself, if that is possible. I'm 98% sure I'm not a party to the will but my sister, mother and a cousin are almost certainly listed as beneficiaries. The niece is from my Grandmother's side of the family, I am from my Grandfather's side of the family - she was a step grandmother.
A: Not all attorneys retain copies of the will. There is typically a court action that can be filed to reuire someone who has the will to produce it in court. You should visit with a probate attorney in the correct jurisdiction.
Florida law provides a will can be revoked by a subsequent inconsistent will. F.S. 732.505 In order for a will to be valid, the testator must have sound mind (or capacity). F.S. 732.501 If your grandmother had cognitive issues when she executed the 2016 will, it may not be valid. Additionally, a will may be contested if the testator received undue influence. Depending on your grandmother's niece's involvement with the 2016 will, the will may be challenged on this basis as well. As for initiating probate, a Personal Representative must be a Florida resident or a relative of the decedent. F.S. 733.304 A step-child would not be qualified, however you could retain an attorney to be appointed by the court. If you have been unable to locate the will(s) you can contact the county bar association to reach out to local attorneys who may have a copy of the will(s).
NEILSON LAW, PA
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