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How can I find out what my grandmother left me in her will/trust and claim the money?

Ipswich, MA |

My grandmother passed away on Mother's Day in May of this year (2013). Her husband (my grandfather) passed away before she did. She had two children: my mother (who died in 2000) and my aunt who is likely taking care of what my grandmother has left behind. I haven't been in contact with my family for a couple years, but my aunt has reached out to me...but only to see if I am still okay. We all live in Massachusetts. I'm unsure of what other information is needed here to answer my question..

Attorney Answers 3


So very sorry for your loss. Depending upon the size of your grandmother's estate, the nature of her estate planning, and how her assets were owned, it may be subject to probate in the county she resided in at the time of her death. you can check to see if indeed an action to probate her estate has been filed in the probate and family court for that county, in which case, you will find a copy of her will at that court, and here you will find out who the beneficiaries under her will are.

The link below lists the courts for the various counties.

Discovering who the beneficiaries of a trust are is not quite so simple, depending on the nature of your grandmother's estate planning. In either event, it would be worth your while to hire an experienced probate attorney to assist you in this matter.

Best wishes to you.

No attorney-client relatonship is created in responding to this question, and advice provided is based solely on very limited facts presented, and therefore may not be correct. You are advised that it is always best to contact a competent and experienced with the practice of law in the county in which you reside, particularly as it relates to family law, child support, custody and visitation (a/k/a "parenting time") issues, including 209A abuse-prevention restraining orders (a/k/a "ROs" in legal-speak), regarding un-emancipated children, under the age of 22.

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Attorney Molloy has provided you with an excellent answer. You may wish to talk with your aunt as to whether she is going to open a probate and if she has an attorney. Assuming your aunt is either the executor of your grandmother's will or trustee of a funded revocable trust, she can provide copies of your grandmother's estate planning documents to you (or have her attorney do so). Good luck to you.

This information is presented as a public service. It should not be construed to be formal legal advice nor considered to be the formation of a lawyer/client relationship. I am licensed in Connecticut and New York and my answers are based upon the law in those jurisdictions. My answer to any specific question would likely be different if I were to review a client's file and have the opportunity to interview the client. Accordingly, I strongly urge you to retain an attorney in your jurisdiction with respect to any legal matter.

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I am sorry for your loss.
You have two choices. The first is to investigate on your own and the second would be to have a discussion with your aunt.
That said, the truth of the matter is that your aunt was your grandparent's primary support system. She may have been listed on accounts to reduce the need for a probate.
In the end, you may want to discuss your rights with a probate litigation attorney. Good luck.

*** LEGAL DISCLAIMER I am licensed to practice law in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts and have an office in Reading. My practice is focused in the areas of elder law, estate planning and probate administration. I am ethically required to state that the above answer does not create an attorney/client relationship. These responses should be considered general legal education and are intended to provide general information about the question asked. Frequently, the question does not include important facts that, if known, could significantly change the answer. Information provided on this site should not be used as a substitute for competent legal advice from a licensed attorney that practices in your state. The law changes frequently and varies from state to state. IRS Circular 230 Disclosure: In order to comply with requirements imposed by the Internal Revenue Service, we inform you that any U.S. tax advice contained in this communication (including any attachments) is not intended to be used, and cannot be used, for the purpose of (i) avoiding penalties under the Internal Revenue Code or (ii) promoting, marketing, or recommending to another party any transaction or matter addressed herein.

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