Asked in Probate for New York

Q: My grandfather died and left a will. His wife is keeping everything secret to his only daughter and me the only grand.

Since we live in the Caribbean no one is telling us anything. My mother would like to know what was left for her so we just want some help what we can do before his wife do as she please.

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1 Lawyer Answer
Gary Krim
Gary Krim
  • Probate Lawyer
  • White Plains, NY
  • Licensed in New York

A: Because your grandfather left a Will, it has to be probated by the court if he had assets that require probate. You as the grandson have no direct stake in the estate.

As you describe it, your mother would have to be named in the section of the probate petition naming all people with an interest in the estate, even if the Will does not name her as a beneficiary. For the probate to proceed, a Notice of Probate has to be served upon your mother if she does not consent to the petition and the person filing the petition would then have to get a date from the court for a review. Is she does not consent, your mother would have be served with what is call a Citation advising her of the court date. A copy of the Will has to be included with the Citation. Then your mother would have a chance to read the Will and decide if she wants to object to the Will being admitted into probate. If she does not consent and does not appear, whether in person or by an attorney, on the date set by the court in the Citation, the court is likely to approve the petition, which serves to validate the Will.

If you are able to get a copy of the Will from your grandfather's wife your mother can then decide what to do much sooner.

Because your mother lives in the Caribbean, service on her can be done very easily but in a way that she might not actually receive at all or in time for the court date.

Under those circumstances it might be best for your mother to contact a lawyer who can search the court files to see if a petition was filed without waiting to receive the Notice of Probate or Citation.

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