Since work flow, the costs of doing business and laws and costs vary from time to time, it would not be a fair request to an attorney. It is not something that I would agree to with a client. I would tell the client, when you are ready to settle the estate, then you can retain me at that time and we will enter into an engagement agrement at that time and we will then conduct business at that time.
I agree with the prior attorney since the facts, assets, family considerations or problems may be quite different than are currently.
First, the life insurance, pension and 401(k) will go to the named beneficiary. The will can not overrule these designations. So whoever is named the beneficiary of the life insurance gets that outside of what the will says. Same for the pension and 401(k). This also applies to joint property, so if they held money or the house or other assets, then the joint tenant gets those assets. The will only speaks to assets in mom's name alone. As for your options to find out the truth, the only way would be to try to find whether she ever saw an attorney. If you can check her belongings or her check register you may find additional information. However, the will cannot change the passage of title on the items discussed above. Get with an estates lawyer in your area to discuss all of the factual details and your options in a face to face meeting.
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