Manistee, MI asked in Estate Planning, Probate, Gov & Administrative Law and Military Law for Michigan

Q: I have a probate problem and more than 1 question, is there someone I can speak to?

My dad died before I was 1, he wasn't married to my mom, he was a military vet (Master Sergeant) who served from 1941-1967 and died in 1977, I wasn't mentioned in his probate papers,bi was taken from my mom rt after and raised in foster care, I'm his only living relative and I want his personnel records, I want to find out what happened with his estate and benefits, he has unclaimed money I don't know how to claim and I'm pretty sure he was exposed to things in the army that killed him

1 Lawyer Answer
James L. Arrasmith
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  • Estate Planning Lawyer
  • Sacramento, CA

A: I'm sorry to hear about your situation. Navigating probate, estate matters, and military records can be complex, especially given the circumstances you described. Here are a few steps you can take to gather more information and seek assistance:

1. Military records: To obtain your father's military personnel records, you can submit a request to the National Personnel Records Center (NPRC) using Standard Form 180 (SF-180).

2. Unclaimed money: Check with the unclaimed property office in the state where your father last resided or any states where he may have had financial accounts or property. Each state has its own process for claiming unclaimed funds. You can start your search at the National Association of Unclaimed Property Administrators website:

3. Estate and probate matters: Contact the probate court in the county where your father lived at the time of his death. They may have records of his estate proceedings and can provide information on how to access these records. If you believe you were improperly excluded from the estate, you may need to consult with a probate attorney to discuss your legal options.

4. Veterans benefits: Contact the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) to inquire about any benefits you may be entitled to as a surviving child of a veteran.

Given the complexity of your situation, it may be beneficial to consult with a legal professional who specializes in probate, estate, and veterans' affairs. They can provide personalized advice and guide you through the process of obtaining records, claiming benefits, and addressing any issues related to your father's estate. Some organizations, such as legal aid societies or veterans' support groups, may offer low-cost or free legal assistance to those in need.

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