Salt Lake City, UT asked in Probate for Utah

Q: How do I find out if my grandfather had a will.....

I met my grandfather (on my dads side) in 2000 over the phone when he was speaking with my grandmother (moms side) he was in Utah I was in Seattle, I moved to Utah latr October 2019 I called him we were gonna meet face to face that Thanksgiving well he didn't show, then never answered his phone I was upset and hurt, my mom tolde me a few days ago to Google him he was a Dr.in Utah so I did it was his obituary he passed November 14 2019 and there was a girl who left a message for him so I looked her up and contacted her and she told me I was her older sister and her mom told her about me I never new... Well now she's not talking to me. My mom said it was cause he left me I'm his will, I don't know but if he did I would like to know what would I do

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1 Lawyer Answer
Wesley Winsor
Wesley Winsor
PREMIUM
Answered
  • Probate Lawyer
  • Saint George, UT
  • Licensed in Utah

A: Hi,

I am not sure where you are at in your knowledge about estate planning, so I will give you some background then answer your question.

Background:

If your Grandfather put you in his will whomever the executor/personal representative is will need to notify you if you are entitled to anything. If he put you in his will and said something like, "I recognize I have a granddaughter, but leave her nothing", then it is doubtful you would have a claim to anything.

If he didn't have a will then the estate would pass according to the laws of intestacy with the basic rule being it would go to next of kind split evenly among that generation.

Many people will have a trust and a will. The will being a simple "pour over will" which pours over everything not in the trust into the trust. The purpose for this is to avoid the executor/personal representative from having to take the estate through probate in order to distribute the property. If your grandfather did this, then, you will want to get a copy of the trust and not worry so much about the will. The successor trustee of a trust will have a legal duty to notify you if you are a trust beneficiary.

Answer:

If your Grandfather had a will and only a will (not a pour over will into a trust) and the probate-able estate has more than 100k and/or any real estate, then the executor/P.R. will have to open up a probate case in order to get the authority to distribute the property. If the executor/P.R. has done this, you can go to the Court and talk to the clerk and see if they will do a name search. Search for your grandpa's name to see if a probate has been filed. If it has been filed, then the will will also be filed if there is one.

This is a long-winded answer but here is what I would advise:

1. Find out who is in charge of your grandfather's estate

2. Ask them in writing to see the trust and will documents

There is no central repository where people file their estate documents. You will need to get a copy of them from the successor trustee or the executor.

You could also look up the land records and see if his house was in the trust, you could then ascertain whether he had a trust or not.

I hope this helps.

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