How can my daughter's boyfriend find out what his grandfather's will says. He is named in the inheritance.
September 4, 2012 6:25 AM   Subscribe

How can my daughter's boyfriend find out what his grandfather's will says? He is named in the inheritance.

My daughter's boyfriend's grandfather died many years ago. His mother, (who is a huge control freak) told him the will said she was to give him his inheritance a little bit at a time so she could make sure the money was not wasted. He is now 33 and 16 years later she is still giving him money, but only a little at a time and only after he literally has to beg for it. Finally he buckled down and said he wants his full inheritance now. She told him the will said she would have the power to indefinitely give him money as she felt he needed it and refuses to let him see a copy of the will. How can he obtain a copy of the will? His mother refuses to tell him the attorney's name. Any information would be helpful. Thanks!
posted by sybarite09 to Law & Government (6 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
Are there any relatives who were adults at the time the grandfather died?
posted by brujita at 6:34 AM on September 4, 2012

Does he know what city/county the will was filed and probated in? If so, he should call the courthouse in that jurisdiction and ask for help. The rules and procedures are different enough in different jurisdictions that it would be worth getting some very local help.

And of course, if he can't figure it out on his own, he should contact an estates lawyer licensed in the jurisdiction where the will was probated to ask for advice.
posted by decathecting at 6:36 AM on September 4, 2012 [5 favorites]

Like decathecting says, find out where the will was executed, go to the probate court and ask for a copy of the will.
posted by lyra4 at 6:45 AM on September 4, 2012 [1 favorite]

Many counties have these documents online and you can view an unofficial version and order a paper or PDF version for a small fee. He should have had notification from the county when it was filed, explaining where and how to obtain a copy of the will, and usually, a final accounting at the end from the executor detailing where all the monies were spent/disbursed (funeral costs, disbursements to heirs, bills owed at the time of death, etc.). Normally there is an estate attorney who assists in filing these documents (if the executor is not the attorney and say, a relative) and they would also be listed on the county's website as a matter of course. "X filed this document on DATE." And then you can call up the document.

We had some questions about a will and the probate court was very helpful in directing us to where we could find information (but they cannot give you legal advice, that would be an attorney, as decathecting said). I would try and find out who the estate attorney is from the probate court (if the documents are not online, some places may not have older docs on a website), so that you do not mistakenly call them up and tip off the mother that you are making inquiries.

Then I would call the local bar association and ask for a good estate attorney (except for the one who deals with the mother). We did ask some questions of the estate attorney and while they were answered, the executor took the opportunity to threaten us with keeping our mouths shut or he would see to it that the rest of our inheritance would go to pay said attorney.
posted by Marie Mon Dieu at 6:50 AM on September 4, 2012

There's a decent article here on how to do it.

I assume the mother was the executor, and you are in the US.


1. Determine which county the deceased lived in. This should tell you the correct probate court.
2. It should be either where they lived or where they owned real estate.
3. It may not actually be called a probate court (other terms include "circuit court," "surrogate's court," "orphan's court)
4. See if you can search the probate court online
5. If not, then give the court a call, and ask for help.
6. You will then, most likely, be asked to go in person or send a written request for the copy of the will.

But, above all, it is easier to just call the relevant probate court a call and ask. You may have to pay a small fee, but the clerk will be an expert at this and deal with these sorts of queries a lot.

If that fails, find a local attorney (local to where the deceased died, or owned real estate) who specialises in probate/estate planning issues. You may well need an attorney if the mother is failing in her fiduciary duty (i.e. not carrying out the terms of the will) and refuses to do so. There can be statutes of limitations, so, bearing in mind 16 years have passed, don't hang about.
posted by MuffinMan at 6:54 AM on September 4, 2012 [3 favorites]

IAALBNYL or the boyfriend's lawyer. If what the mother says is true, it appears the will created a testamentary trust with the mother as trustee and the boyfriend as beneficiary.

If so, and if the relevant state has adopted the Uniform Trust Code or has a trust code that is anything like the UTC, the boyfriend is entitled to a copy of the trust instrument upon reasonable request. (he's also entitled to annual accounting reports, which I imagine he has never received). I recommend that the boyfriend write a letter to his mother requesting the trust instrument pursuant to whichever section of the governing trust code and specifically state such in the letter. If the mother refuses to comply, then he has a nice piece of paper that could be used in support of his claim.

Best of luck.
posted by Tanizaki at 7:23 AM on September 4, 2012 [1 favorite]

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