I get a lot of calls from people with similar stories. Dad remarried and died first, now my stepmom won't tell me anything. What can be done? I say the first question is what assets do you know of, that were in his own name individually and not owned joint with the second wife? Because if they owned everything joint, then there's little or nothing that can be done, because she as the joint owner will have succeeded to sole ownership of all such assets. The will may not even matter.
There are exceptions and variations and as many situations as there are individuals but that is a pattern I often see. I am not trying to discourage just give you a heads up about a common unhappy outcome. You must call a lawyer in your jurisdiction and decide to hire or not. Louisiana especially has some different laws about inheritance and wills due to its history as a Napoleonic code jurisdiction and so online free advice shopping may not be sufficient to get this handled correctly. Call an estates lawyer in the county where he resided by the way, that is the best choice, usually.
No legal representation exists by virtue of this answer. Consult your attorney. I am only licensed to practice law in Indiana and Illinois.
This is a difficult situation - communications between an attorney and client are privileged so the attorney may not be able to explain more. I know that I have had clients who intended to sign a new Will, but put it off or changed their minds and, after they pass away and their loved ones call looking for the Will, I only can reveal that I do not have one.
State law usually requires that the holder of an original Will provide it to the court or named executor. You could ask the attorney to prepare an affidavit stating that he did not prepare/witness a new Will for your father -the attorney thus is swearing to the truth that there is no new Will. You also may check with other attorney's offices to see whether he went to a different attorney. You also can file a request for notice with the court so that any probate filing in connection with your father's estate is sent to you. Another option is to file with the probate court to be appointed executor, and then use the court's subpoena power to request a Will from the attorney.
Legal advice depends upon the particular facts of a given situation. Please use my answers as general information but not legal counsel.
#1 How much do you want to spend to find out that your father's wife gets everything?
#2 Double the figure arrived at in #1.
#3 Take the #2 amount of money and pay it to a lawyer to open probate, demand discovery of the will, etc, etc.
#4 Don't blame me (or your lawyer) when you find out that your father's wife gets everything.
This is not legal advice. I am not your lawyer. You are not my client. You cannot rely on my response to your question. My response to your question is probably worth exactly what you paid for it. You don't get to sue me for anything. If you'd like to sue me, well you have to hire me first. Here's how you can hire me! #1 Call: 1-888-463-2843 #2 Email: email@example.com #3 See me on TV! www.woodtv.com - go to the Ask the Expert tab! #4 Listen to my radio show (2 full hours every week!) www.woodradio.com - go to the podcast section.