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How do I get a copy of family member's will?

Cedar Rapids, IA |

My great uncle passed away a few years back and I have good reason to believe he left me a small inheritance, but nobody has contacted me about it. No one told me he had died and I have no idea who the executor was. I live in a different state. How can I get a copy of my uncle's will without anyone knowing about me doing that?

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Attorney answers 1


I recommend that you go to the county courthouse in the county where your uncle lived at the time of his death. Ask to speak to the probate clerk. Explain your situation to the clerk. The probate clerk will be able to tell you if an estate had been open. If the estate was opened and a will was probated, the clerk may be able to send you a copy of the will, for a small fee.

That being said, many individuals can avoid probate through the use of many different kinds of documents. The different documents give the beneficiaries assets, without going through the probate process. If the assets pass to beneficiaries outside of probate, the will would not be needed. If the will has not been probated, then you may not be entitled to inherit any assets.

Ms. McCauley strongly advises the questioner to confer with an attorney in their state to ensure proper advice is received.
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