As a general rule, a life insurance policy names a beneficiary designated by the insured. The insured, in this case your father, is free to name any beneficiary he wishes. Since you say were estranged it is unlikely you are named a beneficiary.
LIfe insurance policies do not enter the probate process unless there is no living beneficiary at the time of the insured person's death. In that case the life insurance policy proceeds are probated and you would be entitled to a portion of them. However, the more likely case is that there is a living named beneficiary and the life insurance is paid outside of probate.
As a general rule when a will is submitted to probate all know children of the decedent must be given notice.
For best advice, contact a lawyer in the state your father was a resident of when he died.
If your father had life insurance, as the prior post mentioned, that is a non-probatable asset that would be distributed to the named beneficiaries on the policy regardless of your father's will provisions. If you are named as a beneficiary on an insurance policy, which is probably unlikely due to your estrangement, you should be contacted by whomever has information on the policy.
As for the will, once it is filed in the clerk of court's office (in the courthouse in the county where your father resided when he passed away) it becomes public record. If you would like to obtain a copy, you need to contact the clerk of court and request a copy. If you are named in the will, then you will be contacted by the Executor at some point regarding your inheritance. If you are not named in the will, you could potentially challenge the will. However, in order to successfully challenge the will you must prove that your father was unduly influenced and he would have named you as a beneficiary but for the undue influence. Considering your estranged relationship, such a challenge would be very difficult to prove.
Ultimately, just because you were his child does not mean that he was required to leave anything to you when he passed. Any money and assets he had could have been distributed to whomever he chose; you are not entitled to an inheritance simply because you were his child.
The comment provided above is intended as general information and IS NOT LEGAL ADVICE. You should consult an attorney for advice regarding your individual situation. If your question concerns an Estate Planning, Elder Law, or Long Term Care Planning matter governed by the laws of the State of North Carolina, please contact me for personalized service. firstname.lastname@example.org (910) 762-1577.