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How can i find out who my fathers lawyer was? he passed away in 2000, and now my stepmother just passed.

Old Bridge, NJ |

at the time of his passing, he lived in new jersey

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Attorney answers 3

Best Answer
Posted

You mention that your father passed in 2000 and that your stepmother recently passed. Based on that I assume you real question is are you entitled to inherit anything. If that is the case you should check to see if your father's will was probated when he passed by inquiring with the Surrogate office for the county in which he resided. A review of the will would likely give you some idea of your right and might also lead you to his estatepalnning attorney.

Ed Smeltzer

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Asker

Posted

Will they give me this information on a phone call?

Edward Joseph Smeltzer II

Edward Joseph Smeltzer II

Posted

Most surrogate office's I've dealt with in NJ will tell you whether they have a file for a particular decedent over the phone although with a case as old as you fathers they might request that you submit a request in writing and pay a small research fee. You can also check to see what records might be available online. Many of the surrogate's offices have a growing number of records available through an online portal.

Martin L Bearg

Martin L Bearg

Posted

My experience is that the clerk will ask for a written request and the payment of the ssearch fee. If you know the month in which your father died (obviously if the very end, probate or a petition for administration would have occurred in the next month), this will narrow the cost of the search. The petition for probate or administration will have the attorney's name on it and if it differs from the person who prepared the Will, the attorney may have signed as the notary or as a witness on the Self-Proving Affidavit.

Posted

This is tough. If he was sued you may find out through the court. Try an add with the county bar.
Try deeds that were signed to see if the notary might have worked for a certain attorney.

Posted

I am uncertain why you need the name of your father's attorney, but IF his will was probated, and IF the attorney who drafted the Will helped with the probate (the executor of the estate is free to utilize an attorney of his/her own choosing), if you get a record of the probate proceeding from the Middlesex County Surrogate's Court in New Brunswick, you may be able to find out who (a) drafted the Will, and (b) who helped the designated executor to administer your father's Will.

This can be a person totally different than the attorney who drafted and/or is helping to administer your stepmother's Will.

You will need to pay the Surrogate a search fee and a fee for copies of the documents. If you have an exact date of death, this will limit your out of pocket costs.

The foregoing is not intended to be legal advice upon which you may rely as I have not been retained for this purpose.

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