Q: My father past away. We don't know if he left a will or a trust. How do I find out.
A: Ask his close relatives and friends and look inside any safe deposit boxes or other places he kept important documents.
A: Check the Surrogate's Court of the county he might have filed his will, typically that of his residency, for a will. If nothing is there, contact the attorneys you are aware he most recently used for legal matters. If that's a dead end, run an advertisement in the local bar association newsletter that you are seeking your relative's lost will. If that fails, and you assume there is no will, apply for letters of administration from the court which, if successful, will provide control of the estate though you will be subject to the laws of intestacy in property distribution and debt. You can hire an attorney to do all this and more.
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