New York, NY asked in Probate for Rhode Island

Q: How can find out if I'm mentioned in a will without the executor or anyone else finding out?

I've always wondered if my Grandparents "disinherited me" (long story!). It's more of a personal concern than financial. I'm financially independent and don't need or expect anything, but the situation is strange enough that I'd like to "sneak behind the scene" so to speak. One day I'll get up the courage to just ask my uncle (the executor) but if I can avoid that...

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3 Lawyer Answers

A: Read the will. There's no reason you have to legally tell the executor or anyone else who are going to, or have read, the will.

Anthony M. Avery agrees with this answer

Anthony M. Avery
Anthony M. Avery pro label Lawyers, want to be a Justia Connect Pro too? Learn more ›
  • Probate Lawyer
  • Knoxville, TN

A: Is the Will filed for Probate? If not, it means nothing. If Probate is ongoing, go to the Probate Court and read the file.

Albin Moser
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  • Probate Lawyer
  • Providence, RI
  • Licensed in Rhode Island

A: If your grandparents are still living then no. If the maker of the will is still living then no one can read the will without the maker's permission. If your grandparents are deceased then maybe: Upon the maker's death the will would be probated, if there is any probate estate. Those named in the will as beneficiaries would be notified. Heirs at law would also be notified even if they are not named in the will. Under Rhode Island law you may or may not be an heir at law. Typically it is the spouse and the children, but if there is no surviving spouse and there are no children of the decedent still living at the time the decedent dies, then you would be an heir at law and entitled to notice of the probate, if there is a probate petition filed. Often there is no probate petition filed because there is no property to probate. Sometimes the entire estate has transferred non probate or is in a trust. Trust instruments are common and if your grandparents are people of means and have an estate plan then it is likely that their estate would be placed into a trust or several trusts. Trusts do not go through probate court. If you were the present beneficiary of any trusts then the trustee would have told you that, so you can assume that you are not. It is also common that the settlor of an estate will tell a beneficiary that they are a beneficiary, or will be, and in some cases will tell them what to expect. No one has told you that, and this might be the basis for your apprehension.

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