Q: I am included in someone's will and I don't know how to get what was willed to me. The Executor now acts hostile.
The deceased is my Ex husband who died in Jamaica(1 year ago). I live in the house that was willed to me for 12 years in Baltimore Md. I am 62 on SSi and cannot afford legal help. The Executor is the deceased's grown daughter who gave me documentation of death and the will and now will not communicate about the process.
A: You will need to speak with a lawyer and provide more details if you have them. For instance, has an estate been opened, and where? I cannot answer for Jamaica, but in the United States when an estate is opened the will must be filed and it, along with all other filngs in the estate (the invetory, the accounting, etc.), is publicly accessible, meaning you can request and obtain a copy. Real property located in a different jurisdiction than where the estate is opened cannot be transferred or sold except by filing an ancillary proceeding in the jurisdiction where the property is located. That means, in order to dispose of the house in Baltimore, the executor or personal representative of the estate (if opened elsewhere) must file a foreign estate proceeding regarding the house in the Register of Wills in the Circuit Court for Baltimore City (if that s where the house is located). That proceeding is also publicly accessible, and requires the filing of a certfied copy of the proceedings from the original estate action, which would inlcude the will. Therefore, either through the court where the estate has been opened, or in the foreign estate filng here in Baltimore, you can obtain a copy of the will and monitor what is being filed in both proceedings. There is another issue that is very important to clarify, however: when did your ex-husband sign his Will, before or after your divorce? If the property is in his sole name, and if you were not awarded an interest in the property by your divorce judgment, and if his Will was signed BEFORE the entry of the divorce judgment, then any bequest left to you under his Will is null and void by law upon the entry of the divorce judgment. The only way a bequest under the Will to a decedent's ex-spouse can be upheld is if the Will was signed AFTER the date of the judgment of divorce. This assumes you were divorced in Maryland or another state in the United States which has a similar law (most or all do). Therefore, you need to answer these questions: who's name(s) are on the deed to the Baltimore porerty; when and where were you divorced; when was the Will signed; and where is any estate proceeding pending? Contact a lawyer once you gather as much information as you can.
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