My mother passed away 7 months ago and was wondering about a will. I have no one to ask about this so was wondering if someone like probate court would have this information. I live in Michigan.
There is not enough information provided to give you a complete answer.
You can check with the probate court to see if a Will was filed for safekeeping, but this is often NOT done. If you know who your mother's lawyer was, you can try to find out if there was a Will prepared. You can also check for safe deposit boxes where your mother did her banking.
The more important question might be whether or not a Will makes a difference. How are your mother's assets titled? If they are in joint names or if there are beneficiary designations, then these assets pass by operation of law, upon your mother's death, and they would generally not be subject to the terms of any Will.
If there are assets that were in your mother's name alone and there were no beneficiaries designated, then who are the heirs? If you are the only heir, it is unlikely that a Will would provide that the assets do not pass to you, in most cases. If there are facts in your case which would suggest otherwise, then you should meet with a lawyer.
Whether you can find a Will or not, if the assets need to be probated, then you should meet with a lawyer to decide how best to proceed.
*** LEGAL DISCLAIMER I am licensed to practice law in the State of Michigan and have offices in Wayne and Ingham Counties. My practice is focused in the areas of estate planning and probate administration. I am ethically required to state that the above answer does not create an attorney/client relationship. These responses should be considered general legal education and are intended to provide general information about the question asked. Frequently, the question does not include important facts that, if known, could significantly change the answer. Information provided on this site should not be used as a substitute for competent legal advice from a licensed attorney that practices in your state. The law changes frequently and varies from state to state. If I refer to your state's laws, you should not rely on what I say; I just did a quick Internet search and found something that looked relevant that I hoped you would find helpful. You should verify and confirm any information provided with an attorney licensed in your state.
I agree with Attorney Freederick. Generally, the first place to look for a Will is eithier a safety deposit box. If you mother doesnt have one you should look wherever she kept other important documnets such as bank account information and tax records as some people place their Will's in filing cabinets or other similar locations.
Additionally, you would need to have an attorney to evaluate the ownership of your mother's assets to see if any of them would pass outside of probate.
Finally, how the estate would be handled would also depend on you mother's relative's was she married at the time she passed away? How many kids did your mother have? Did any of your mother's kids pre-decease her? How many granedchildren did she have?
All of this information would be nessecary to assist an attorney in sitting down with you and helping you deal with your mothers affairs.
Hope this helps.
DISCLAIMER: Scott M. Nichol is licensed only in the State of Michigan and any answers provided apply only to the laws of the State of Michigan. Further, answers are provided for general informational purposes only and do not establish an attorney-client relationship between Mr. Nichol and the individual asking the question. An attorney should be consulted prior to acting on any information on this website. Finally, answers are based only on the information provided in the question and are not meant to be definitive solutions to serious legal issues.
Estate planning documents can be almost anywhere. And some people plan and some do not. Some people make property joint with others in order to avoid making a will. The two lawyers who answered this before me gave a lot of practical advice.
In addition to the suggestion to talk to your mother's lawyer, you could also talk to her friends and relatives about the possibility of estate planning documents.
I am licensed to practice law in Michigan and Virginia and regularly handle cases of this sort. You should not rely on this answer. You should consult a lawyer so you can tell the lawyer the entire situation and get legal advice that is precisely tailored to your case.
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