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Am I entitled to a copy of the will of my aunt who left me some money?

Randolph, NJ |

I am a resident of NJ. How do I obtain a copy of the will?

Attorney Answers 5


  1. How do you know she left you money? If you are mentioned as a beneficiary in her will, the attorney administering the estate should send you a copy. Contact the attorney and ask for a copy.

    The above answer is not to be considered legal advice and should not be relied upon as such. You should consult your attorney for specific legal advice as to your individual situation.


  2. You can contact the attorney for the estate if there is one. If the will was probated you can obtain a copy of the will at the local Surrogate's office.

    This is not legal advice nor intended to create an attorney-client relationship. The information provided here is informational in nature only. This attorney may not be licensed in the jurisdiction which you have a question about so the answer could be only general in nature. Visit Steve Zelinger's website: http://www.stevenzelinger.com/


  3. NJ law requires an executor of an estate to provide notice of probate and make the will available to beneficiaries.

    Lawrence Friedman, FriedmanLaw, Bridgewater, NJ, 908-704-1900. Certified as an Elder Law Attorney by the ABA approved National Elder Law Foundation, former Chair NJ State Bar Association Elder and Disabilities Law Section, Member Board of Consultors of NJSBA Real Property, Trusts & Estates Law Section, Vice Chair Special Needs Law Section of National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys, and Master of Laws (LL.M.) in Taxation from N.Y.U. School of Law. Visit SpecialNeedsNJ.com for articles and Q&A on elder law, special needs, wills, trusts, estates, and tax. Visit SpecialNeedsNJ.com/blog and subscribe for free timely updates to be delivered to your inbox. Information on both Avvo and SpecialNeedsNJ.com does not constitute legal advice, as it is general in nature and may not apply to your situation or be subject to important changes. No attorney client relationship exists unless set forth in written engagement terms.

    Lawrence Friedman, Bridgewater, NJ. Certified as an Elder Law Attorney by the ABA approved National Elder Law Foundation, former Chair NJ State Bar Association Elder and Disabilities Law Section, Member Board of Consultors of NJSBA Real Property, Trusts & Estates Law Section, Vice Chair Special Needs Law Section of National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys, and Master of Laws (LL.M.) in Taxation from N.Y.U. School of Law. Visit SpecialNeedsNJ.com for articles and Q&A on elder law, special needs, wills, trusts, estates, and tax. Visit SpecialNeedsNJ.com/blog and subscribe for free timely updates to be delivered to your inbox. Information on both Avvo and SpecialNeedsNJ.com does not constitute legal advice, as it is general in nature and may not apply to your situation or be subject to important changes. No attorney client relationship exists unless set forth in written engagement terms.


  4. An executor has an absolute fiduciary duty to provide you a copy of the will. If he or she is refusing to do so, you should put your request in writing.

    Wills, once probated, are public records, so you can also obtain a copy from the surrogate’s office in the county in which your aunt resided prior to her death. You may be asked to provide some personal information about your aunt, such as her name, address, date of birth, date of death, social security number, or some combination thereof. Usually, a name, as long as it is not an incredibly common one, will suffice for the surrogate to perform the search.

    If the executor continues to refuse, despite your written request, you must institute an action in superior court requesting, among other things, an accounting, disbursement of your share of the estate, and possibly to remove the executor from their position if appropriate.

    Probate is a highly sophisticated and complicated area of law that is very difficult for the self-represented litigant to navigate. You should consult with an experienced probate/will contest attorney to find out what your rights are. As a resident of NJ, the general rule (with certain exceptions including but not limited to fraud on the court) is that you only have 4 months from the date the will is probated or letters are granted to the executor, but you should talk to an attorney about filing one immediately because getting all of the necessary documents and information together can take some time.

    You should consider meeting with an attorney well-versed in these areas. I recommend you seek a law firm that concentrates in family law. This concentration allows the attorneys to better understand the issues and complexities of you matter.

    Additionally, below are links to articles and information that may assist you with your case.

    Good luck.
    Brad M. Micklin, Esq.
    The Micklin Law Group
    187 Washington Ave., Suite 2F
    Nutley, NJ 07110
    973-562-0100
    Brad@Micklinlawgroup.com
    www.micklinlawgroup.com

    Please mark as "Helpful" or "Best Answer" if our advice helped you. This information is based upon the limited facts you presented. My advice is based on New Jersey law and may be different if I find that the facts presented are different. Additionally, this answer does not contain any confidential information nor does it create any attorney/client relationship.


  5. Where did you aunt live at the time of her passing? Did she live in New Jersey? If she did, then you can obtain a copy either from the executor or from the Surrogate's office of the County of her residence. If she lived in another state and her will was probated in that state you should still be able to obtain a copy from the local probate court or the executor. My office by the way is in Randolph, NJ if you need assistance.

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