Skip to main content

How do I get a copy of family member's will?

Cedar Rapids, IA |

My great uncle passed away a few years back and I have good reason to believe he left me a small inheritance, but nobody has contacted me about it. No one told me he had died and I have no idea who the executor was. I live in a different state. How can I get a copy of my uncle's will without anyone knowing about me doing that?

Attorney Answers 1


I recommend that you go to the county courthouse in the county where your uncle lived at the time of his death. Ask to speak to the probate clerk. Explain your situation to the clerk. The probate clerk will be able to tell you if an estate had been open. If the estate was opened and a will was probated, the clerk may be able to send you a copy of the will, for a small fee.

That being said, many individuals can avoid probate through the use of many different kinds of documents. The different documents give the beneficiaries assets, without going through the probate process. If the assets pass to beneficiaries outside of probate, the will would not be needed. If the will has not been probated, then you may not be entitled to inherit any assets.

Ms. McCauley strongly advises the questioner to confer with an attorney in their state to ensure proper advice is received.
By using this site you understand and agree that there is no attorney client relationship or confidentiality between you and the attorney responding. This site should not be used as a substitute for competent legal advice from a licensed attorney that practices in the subject area in your jurisdiction, who is familiar with your specific facts and all of the circumstances and with whom you have an attorney client relationship. The law changes frequently and varies from jurisdiction to jurisdiction. The information and materials provided are general in nature, and may not apply to a specific factual or legal circumstance described in the question or omitted from the question. Any individual seeking legal advice for their own situation should retain their own legal counsel as this response provides information that is general in nature and not specific to any person's unique situation. Circular 230 Disclaimer - Advice given in this response cannot be used to eliminate penalties with the IRS or any other governmental agency.

Mark as helpful

2 found this helpful

Wills and estates topics

Recommended articles about Wills and estates

What others are asking

Can't find what you're looking for?

Post a free question on our public forum.

Ask a Question

- or -

Search for lawyers by reviews and ratings.

Find a Lawyer

Browse all legal topics