Q: Wife’s brother died. Before death he verbally said she could have a certain painting. Executor says no.
Nothing is in writing. We just want to know if the executor is telling the truth based on what the wheel says they won’t show us the will. Do we have a next step.
A: His oral promises before death are not sufficient. The bequest needs to be spelled out in the Will. The Will must be filed in the probate estate when the estate petition is filed. Until the estate is opened and the executor receives Letters of Administration from the court, the executor has no authority to act. Letters must be issued first, and that only happens when the Will is filed and the estate is opened. At that time, it is a public document and you may obtain copy.
In Maryland a Will is a matter of public record after the person who made it dies. The personal representative has an obligation to open the estate and identify both the people named in the Will to inherit as well as people who would inherit if there was no Will. Depending on who was in the deceased person’s family when they died siblings may or may not be notified. However whether or not someone is a part of an estate they can get a copy of the Will from the Register of Wills.
Generally speaking a personal representative (or “executor”) cannot give out estate property based on verbal instructions that contradict the Will.
While I hope this general information helps It is not intended as legal advice specific to your situation.
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