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Question about estates and wills and forgery.

Harrisburg, PA |

I am the administrator of an estate. I have emails and letters from both surviving children agreeing to equal sharing of the money. No one told me there was any will. I based my PA inheritance tax paperwork on this. Once PA ok's my paperwork I want to disburse the funds. Now all of a sudden one of the children says he has a "secret will" that leaves everything to him but makes excuses for not sending it to me. Besides the above questions, I can legally give him a deadline to send the alleged will to me? For various reasons, I suspect he has nothing or that it's a fake. If he does send me a suspect will, who do I contact in law enforcement regarding fraud/forgery? Right now I have no will, just emails from both children agreeing to split the money equally.

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Attorney answers 4



I would trust your gut ... if you have already been sworn in as Administrator, he will have to Petition the Court for whatever relief he is seeking. I would not worry about your duties as Administrator.

With respect to the fraud/forgery, don't contact any law enforcement - they can't do anything here. Only a judge can.

Good luck,


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John B. Whalen, Jr., J.D., LL.M. is an AV Peer Review Attorney and Counselor at Law, is listed in The Bar Register of Preeminent Lawyers, is Avvo Rated 10.0 Superb, is a recipient of the Legum Magister (LL.M.) Post-Doctorate Degree in Taxation (from the Villanova University School of Law), and is a recipient of the American Jurisprudence Award in Wills, Trusts, and Estates (from the Widener University School of Law).

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I agree with the above answer in as much as the law does not require you to now halt everything and wait on this "secret" will to come down the pike.

But I think your deadline idea has something to commend it. Then, at least, you can send him written correspondence in a manner that proves he received it and show later that you were as diligent as you could be under the circumstances. As to the amount of time for the deadline, really, how long can it take for a person to just show you a copy of a will? I wouldn't necessarily give much.

Consider hiring a probate attorney. His fee will likely come out of the estate funds.

No attorney-client relationship or privilege is formed by this communication.


Discuss with your attorney about the deadlines already in place by the court and writing a "deadline letter'.

The answer given does not imply that an attorney-client relationship has been established and your best course of action is to have legal representation in this matter.


I agree with the other answers, but it is up to the son to produce the Will and petition the probate court to admit it. If he does, then you will need to address the issue of its validity. If the son refuses to request admission of the Will, then for all you know, he does not have one. The onus is on HIM to step forward and bring this matter to the court's attention. I am not sure why he has not already done so.

James Frederick

*** 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.