Skip to main content

I know my mother had a will don't remember law firm how can I find that firm?

Bronx, NY |

my mother died Sept 23 2012

Attorney Answers 7


  1. Unfortunately its going to be like a needle in the haystack. You can start by looking through all your mother's papers and records including cancelled checks to see if there is any indication of the lawyer or law firm that represented your mother.

    The general advice above does not constitute an attorney-client relationship: you haven't hired me or my firm or given me confidential information by posting on this public forum, and my answer on this public forum does not constitute attorney-client advice. 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. While I am licensed to practice in New York and California, I do not actively practice in New York. Regardless, nothing said should be deemed an opinion of law of any state. All readers need to do their own research or pay an attorney for a legal opinion if one is necessary or desired.


  2. I agree with Attorney Shultz. The best place to look is your mother's checkbook. Many attorneys don't accept credit cards so she probably paid the firm with a check. 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.


  3. It might also be worth checking to see if the will was filed with the local Surrogate’s Court.

    The information provided in this response is for informational purposes only and should not be construed as providing legal advice or establishing an attorney-client relationship. Recipients of this information should not act upon it without consulting legal counsel as individual situations and facts may vary.


  4. Are you trying to find the law firm in order to locate a copy of the will? Or do you have the will and need to know who drafted it? Wills will often have covers and/or envelopes that indicate the drafting attorney. If you do not know the law firm and do not know where the will is - it will be hard to track down. Perhaps if you know where your mother kept her important papers and search through that - it may be your only way of finding it or any paperwork from an attorney that she used. I wish you luck!


  5. Check the county's surrogate's court to see if it was filed there. If not there, check her other papers to see who she ever used as an attorney and may have gone back to do a will. Failing that, put an ad in the local bar periodical(s) asking if anyone has her will.

    If you found this "helpful" or "best answer," please click it with my appreciation. My response is for educational purposes and does not constitute legal advice nor creates an attorney client relationship which requires all the details and a personal conference.


  6. Your supposition is apparently that the original will was retained by the attorney draftsman. If that were the case, one would expect that at least a photocopy of the will would be found among your mother's papers. If you find neither the original nor a photocopy, it just may be that your mother did not actually have a will or that she may have revoked the will.

    Most people don't realize that the "ceremony" for revoking a will is no more complicated than tearing it up and throwing it in the trash.

    While it makes sense to check to see if the will was filed with the Surrogate's Court in the county in which your mother resided, that will be, quite frankly, a long shot. Wills are only very rarely filed while the testator is alive.

    If you are convinced that your mother had a will and that the original of it is being held by the attorney draftsman, you have to conduct quite an investigation. Obviously, you are not going to contact the tens of thousands of attorneys in New York. Instead, try to narrow the search. Is it likely that she used an attorney who is located very near her home? If so, start making some calls. Might she have gotten an attorney's name from a friend or relative? If that is possible, start asking around. Did your mother have a safe deposit box? If so, the will might be there (although that's not a great place to keep an original will).

    It has been 10 months since your mother passed away. This is a rather long time period to go without taking any steps to either probate a will or commence an administration proceeding. Start figuring out what you know about the will, such as, perhaps, when it was drafted. If you know approximately when, you could perhaps start searching through her bank and credit card records for that time period and may come up with the name of the attorney.

    Good luck to you.

    Michael S. Haber is a New York attorney. As such, his responses to posted inquiries, such as the one above, are limited to his understanding of law in the jurisdiction in which he practices and not to any other jurisdiction. In addition, no response to any posted inquiry should be deemed to constitute legal advice, nor to constitute the existence of an attorney/client or other contractual or fiduciary relationship, inasmuch as rendering legal advice involves the ability of the attorney to ask appropriate questions of the person seeking such advice and to thus gather appropriate information. In addition, an attorney/client relationship is formed only by specific agreement. The purpose of this answer is to provide the questioner with general information, not to outline specific legal rights and remedies.


  7. I would approach your Mom's CPA which -- if not known-- can be gleaned from an inspection of the latest tax return. I would also ask Mom's insurance broker. Finally, i would ask any stock broker or banker that Mom has an account with as chances are high that one of these professionals either knows the lawyer or perhaps even recommended the lawyer.

    My answer is not intended to be giving legal advice and this topic can be a complex area where the advice of a licensed attorney in your State should be obtained. Please click "helpful" or "best answer" if my answer added any value or add a "comment" if you have more info for me to help you get a better answer.

Tax law topics

Top tips from attorneys

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