Q: How can I find out the contents of the will of an elderly parent who is still living but will not reveal the contents?
There is a deceased spouse who is also joint owner of the will and three adult children are the beneficiaries. The main asset involved is a house that has been paid off.
A: Maryland law allows planners to maintain absolute control and privacy over their own Wills -- so long as they are living there is no obligation whatsoever to disclose the contents to anyone else.
Wills are typically (though not always) stored in the Register of Wills' vault - the Register of Wills releases when the Personal Representative shows up with a death certificate. At that point (after the planner dies) the Will becomes available and anyone interested can get a copy.
While not legal advice for any particular situation, I hope that this general information provides some clarity.
A: You can’t, other than ask permission. What you can do is look up the estate of the deceased spouse and get a copy of that spouse’s will. If the wills were reciprocal (most married couples’ wills are, but do not have to be), then there is a strong chance the living spouse’s will is the same. Each has to have a separate will. There is no such thing as a joint owner of a will. The only other thing you can do is look up the deed to the house and see how it is titled. Both the deed and the probate estate are public records, and both can be accessed electronically through the internet, or in person at the courthouse.
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