Widow in charge of will has not submitted will for 5 years, has bought a second house with money and one of 2 children are able to access home and other child isn't left with anything. If i bring this to probate court can the widow be held in contempt of court and be sent to jail for this or will she just be forced to relinquish the will and accets?
Nobody is going to jail for not producing a will when the maker of the will (testator) dies. Florida Statutes Sect. 732.901 provides that the custodian of a will (the person with actual physical possession of the original will), must deposit that original will with the clerk of court in the county where the testator resided within 10 days of learning of the testator's death. If the custodian does not do so, then an interested person can file an action in the probate court to force the custodian to file the original will with the court. If it is found that the custodian of the will did not have good cause for not filing the will, then that person will be ordered to produce it and will be ordered to pay the legal fees/costs of the person who had to bring the lawsuit to force the custodian to file the will.
What happens other than that is up to you in some sense. So, before going on, I have to ask, was a probate ever done for the deceased spouse's estate? If not, there is nothing stopping you from doing so if you are an interested person. I assume from the facts in your post that you are the child without access to the widow's home. If I am correct, as a child of the decedent, you would be an interested person. As an interested person, you can file to open the estate of the deceased, the widow's husband, I presume. You do not have to have the will to do so. You can file "intestate". From there is another platform to demand the will be produced.
As for the house, it was probably owned one of two ways - either in the deceased husband's name alone, or jointly between the deceased husband and the widow. In either case, there is nothing you can do to force your way into the house. If it was owned by the deceased husband in his name alone, it was his homestead. Upon the death of a married homestead owner, the surviving spouse gets a "life estate" in the property, meaning she can do what she likes with it for the rest of her life (as long as she maintains it and pays the mortgage, if any). Upon her death, it would then go to his children, equally. If it was owned jointly by them (joint with right of survivorship or tenants by the entirety), then upon the death of the husband, the widow now owns it outright. In either case, if she wants to let one child in and not another, that is entirely up to her.
If you have concerns, you should consult a probate litigation attorney to see what you best options are.
Our Rating is calculated using information the lawyer has included on their profile in addition to the information we collect from state bar associations and other organizations that license legal professionals. Attorneys who claim their profiles and provide Avvo with more information tend to have a higher rating than those who do not.What determines Avvo Rating?Experience & background
Years licensed, work experience, educationLegal community recognition
Peer endorsements, associations, awardsLegal thought leadership
Publications, speaking engagementsDiscipline