Hi Retired Fools, I should be among you, but this is the first post I am making here because of a problem that is being encountered. If someone knows the answer or where to find the answer, I'd be very grateful...My father died last month and my brother and I have asked to see the will that he left. We have called the lawyer that our father gave to us to ask that we be able to see it or be given copies. We have been told that our father's widow, the lawyer's client, not our mother, will be asked if we can see the will. The lawyer has not returned our calls when we have called again. Are we entitled to see the will? now? later? as a matter of public record???We live in California as did my father and does his widow...Looking for a place to call, ask questions, etc...Thanks in advance, Anne
We live in California as did my father and does his widow...Looking for a place to call, ask questions, etc...Anne ===========================================I don't have your answer, but I'll wager that if you pose your question to the helpful CCSand, easily found on the FICA board, she will know where and who to suggest:[IIRC, she is a card-carrying attorney.]http://boards.fool.com/Messages.asp?mid=21622729&bid=110007&sort=usernameGood luck....
Thanks BrerBear!!!Also, I got the telephone number for the California Senior Hot Line and its website and have a telphone appointment with then for next Monday...California1-800-222-1753www.seniorlegalhotline.orgAnne
Wills are a matter of public record. When the executor of your father's will takes it to probate court, you can obtain access to it. Perhaps you'll need an attorney to do this for you, if you can't find out how to do it yourself.However - - you say you live in California, and lots and lots of people in that state have a trust. Perhaps your father did, too. Trusts are private, and the trustee has no legal obligation to disclose its terms to you. In fact, that's one of the very good reasons that people draw up a trust - to keep the assets, beneficiaries, etc. private.Common courtesy should cause that attorney to tell you if indeed your father's assets are held in a trust and that he can't ethically show the document to you. Legally, though, he owes you no explanation.Trini
Looking for a place to call, ask questions, etc...Condolences on the loss of your father.Google for the Superior Court of the county which your father and his widow resided. You can then contact the clerk of that court to see if there's been a filing.Once they file for probate, the Will and any codicils become public record which you can go review the entire file and pay for copies at the court clerk's office.As next of kin, I would also expect that you will receive notice of the hearing for the petition of probate to be approved. Even if you weren't named in the Will, the court should require that the petitioner notify the next of kin (1st-degree relatives being children and parents of the decedent) of the hearing.A public notice of the hearing needs to be placed in a publication. This can be illusive, but you can watch for the notice in the classified section of any newspapers in their county. There are other places they can publish, but the papers are usually the cheapest place to publish.NOTE: I'm not a lawyer. Only someone f(F?)oolish enough to be self-performing 2 probates in CA and would do the above if I were in your place.
Trini and Sisyphean, Thank you for your help here...I am getting educated... It seems that the will has not yet reached the Superior Court in Chico, California where it would be filed if it is not a Trust. As far as "courtesy", there has not been very much of that of late with regards to my father's wife's family and possibly the attorney who now works for my father's widow...and I always thought we were all good friends...Sisyphean, thanks for the condolences. That courtesy is much appreciated!!!Anne
As a general rule, if you are mentioned in the will, you should get a copy just by asking.Make a formal request in writing.You can also wait for the will to be filed with the local probate court and get a copy there.RWTHIS IS NOT LEGAL ADVICE SO DO NOT RELY ON IT.
Hi reno, Had another friend named Reno, a sprinter...Make a formal request in writingThat sounds like a good idea... better on the nerves... and I have gotten some good advice from an exlawyer who says the same thing about getting info if we are mentioned in the will.In fact, I have a practicing lawyer friend and, if he offers, I think I'll ask him to request the will in writing...Thanks, Anne
Make a formal request in writing----------That sounds like a good idea... better on the nerves... and I have gotten some good advice from an exlawyer who says the same thing about getting info if we are mentioned in the will.In fact, I have a practicing lawyer friend and, if he offers, I think I'll ask him to request the will in writing...If the lawyer doesn't offer to write, and you do it yourself, ask him what points you should cover. If he gives you some words you'll sound more as if you know something about wills and are more likely to be taken seriously by the other lawyer. Also make yourself some very business-y letterhead.
Dorothy, Thanks...I need everything I can get!!!Anne
I had my my mother's will probated in California and know that if the value of the estate is less than $100,000 probate is not required.
I would think that the Will itself would have to be filed with the court and would then be a matter of public record.However, if it is a "pourover" Will -- that is, he had a trust and everything outside the trust "pours" into the trust upon his death, then it will not be very informative. A trust is NOT a matter of public record, which is one reason why some people choose to use trusts as their main estate planning vehicle.I'd check with the courthouse.Sock
>>...and I always thought we were all good friends...<<When big money is involved, friendship often goes out the window. And you have to realize, it's quite likely that your father left all his estate to his present wife. And why not? She's (presumbably) elderly and needs the support, whereas you and your brother are still (presumbably) of working age and can support yourselves.I'm divorced-remarried and that is what I did.
I'm divorced-remarried and that is what I did.And when she dies, after inheriting your kids legacy, instead of leaving the remainder to your own children she will will it to HER family. Wouldn't a trust leaving your estate to your children with your widow a right to the income to support her as long as she lives not been quite so vindictive? What did you kids do to you to deserve this? ed
And when she dies, after inheriting your kids legacy, instead of leaving the remainder to your own children she will will it to HER family. Wouldn't a trust leaving your estate to your children with your widow a right to the income to support her as long as she lives not been quite so vindictive? What did you kids do to you to deserve this? ed Family pieces should also be specifically listed in the will (or distributed now), otherwise they can be lost to the people for whom they would have meaning. From time to time I regret the loss of my grandmother's wedding ring which was covered only by verbal promises which weren't carried out.
OK, I figued this was coming...Not that it's any business of yours, but my daughter got her "Legacy" already. I practically emptied my 401K and maxed out my credit card to send her to an Ivy League school.So she's now capable of earning a living. She doesn't, in fact, make much but that's her own career choice.I plan on sticking around awhile, but when the time comes my wife will get my insurance and investments. Hopefully, she won't get stuck in a cheap nursing home. And yes, after that, HER daughter and grandchildren will no doubt get her estate. I'm content with that.Besides, my 'ex married a rich guy and she's slick enough to make sure she'll get a nice chunk of it.
Thank you all...Finally my father's wife gave permission to her lawyer to send a copy of the will to my brother who will copy it and send it to me. As we expected the entire estate was left to my father's wife... I assume that is why the daughter of my father's widow was so mean to us in my father's last days. We were helping my father improve his health, according to his wishes, and she wanted us to stop and just go home and leave my father with no support or help from his children.And when she dies, after inheriting your kids legacy, instead of leaving the remainder to your own children she will will it to HER family. Wouldn't a trust leaving your estate to your children with your widow a right to the income to support her as long as she lives not been quite so vindictive? What did you kids do to you to deserve this? This is what just happened to my brother and I. It feels pretty bad that my father's widow's family will inherit everything that my father earned and saved throughout his life. It feels doubly bad because we were treated so poorly by that family. We will survive without my father's legacy, but it would have felt better if my father had provided something for us as a rememberance at least.We did have a very personal time with our father that his widow's family did not care to share. They came to visit daily, but did not stay to help with my father's personal needs and to explain to him what was going on with his recovery. He was a very intelligent man and wanted to know evey detail of what was happening. We were able to learn and explain all of this to him. We were able to help him get services more quickly when they were needed and that provided him with much more comfort than he would have had. We also became aware of the fact that his primary doctor was unaware of his ability to understand his treatment and to make decisions about his own healthcare when decisions were needed. If this had not been the case, his wife would have met with that doctor and discontinued his health support at a time when our father was recovering quite well and that would have terminated his life earlier than he would have wanted it to terminate. These things were necessary for us to do for him as he was unable to speak because of tubes in his mouth and throat. He used pantomime and pointing, etc. and we asked him questions and he could give us expressions of questioning, disbelief, or acknowledgement. He could answer yes and no with a shake of his head. I finally developed a set of cards that he could point to in order to ask for things or to lead us to asking him the correct questions. Finally he became strong enough to write short sentences. He made steady improvement and was expected to recover fully. Then one day, after something happened, he was unable to open his eyes or to use his fine muscles, a major change. At that time we knew, since he had told us, that he wanted us to discontinue his medical support. His wife was also aware of this so we all agreed to do this for him. Because we, his blood family, were there and knew all the doctors and nurses well, we were able to find a way to do this more quickly and ease his final suffering. He was then given morphine to make him feel peaceful until he died. We were able to prevent three days, over a weekend, of tossing and turning and discomfort. We feel good about our relationship with our father and our ability to help him while he was hospitalized, a period of about three weeks.His widow was indeed unable to provide this service for him because of her own health problems and the distance from the hospital, so her daily visits were all that my father expected of her. When she came into his room he glowed and was very happy to see her. It was beautiful to watch that kind of love between two people. We definitely want his widow to have all the help that she needs for her own last days. it would have been appropriate for our father to have left his portion of their estate in trust for her and then to have given his half to my brother and I and she could have given her half to her children. This is not what will happen. Her children will receive all of my father's estate as well as their mother's estate. They knew this fact and one of them was quite angry with us for helping our father to improve. She told us outright that she wanted our father to die before her mother died. It has left our families estranged as it combined her greed with her inability for compassion and caring at an important moment in all of our lives. I believe that creating a different type of will could have prevented that kind of thinking on her part . It would also have prevented our anger towards her and towards her family and our current estrangement from them. It is sending my husband and I to the lawyer to get our own estate in order for our own children. We do not want the same kinds of angers if either of us remarries.And when she dies, after inheriting your kids legacy, instead of leaving the remainder to your own children she will will it to HER family. Wouldn't a trust leaving your estate to your children with your widow a right to the income to support her as long as she lives not been quite so vindictive? What did you kids do to you to deserve this? I repeated this statement because it may not be you who is thought of as vindictive, but someone that you do not suspect right now... If you can spare feelings between people that you love, it would be well to do so. One thing, also is the need for letting every one know before you become ill what your wishes are for your will and your memorial, etc... If everything is planned out and you give each person a part in your memory, there will be a coming together to celebrate your life and not a time of hurt feelings. There are a lot of jealousies out there that can come out when things like this happen. If everyone is thought about before hand, maybe some of those negative things can be prevented.For my brother and I, I can say that we had a very wonderful time with my father and with each other and with our own families. It is a time that we will remember with fondness and closeness for a long time. It is sad that the negativity intrudes now and then because of one member of the other family... Perhaps that could have been avoided with a better way of dealing with the will and the problems that it caused with that person. Think it through for yourself and allow your own family/families to experience the closeness that death brings together rather than driving people apart...I have shared this very personal experience with you because I feel that it is very necessary for all of us to think of the way in which we treat our family members after our deaths. The very worst thing we can do is to create problems for any individual or group. The problems that we create by not thinking things through might cause those who are helping us in our time of greatest need to have other problems to deal with that are unnecessary and avoidable. It certainly would be better for you to be cared for by people who only have your care in their minds rather than the negativity of others in their way. Anne
Anne,Your situation is unfortunate and very touching. Apparently you have no hope of getting anything monetary from your father's estate. That's sad, but you seem to be accepting it better than many people would. I hope his widow will at least let you go through his things and take items which are of sentimental value. In the long run they may be more important than the money. I have a gold-plated monogramed golf divit tool which was given to my father my his golfing buddies on his 75th birthday. It probably didn't cost more than $20. I've carried it with me and used it for 26 years. I think of him often as I slip it into my pocket. I think I might be more upset if I lost it than if I lost the $7K diamond ring I also inherited from him.
Bill, Thanks for the good wishes. Despite our reluctance to go to our father's house while members of his wife's family were there, our niece did go there and was given the opportunity to go through our father's personal things. While those things of monetary value were withheld, those that would mean something to my brother and I were given to us.My father was a policeman during World War II and we have pictures of him clowning with his friends, displaying his new Sargent's stripes, displaying hs new Lieutenant's badge and of he an I on his TV program called "Information Police". We have his marksman medals. My brother has his Retired badge and I have his hat that I remember him wearing.We have memories of him building two apartments above four garages with the help of his policeman and fireman friends. We recall that he was instrumental in setting up the Police Acadamy in San Diego and that he taught Police Sciences at two Junior Colleges there. We have the hole in one trophy from the La Jolla Country Club Golf Course that he earned while he ran that substation that now does not exist. We remember the summer camping trips into the redwoods and now live in the redwoods ourselves... We have the wonderful memory of years of confidences and emails and the last three weeks of his life when we were all together with him in a very intimate time. These are our real legacy...who we are and who he was...Thanks for bringing this to mind again...Anne
>>I assume that is why the daughter of my father's widow was so mean to us in my father's last days. We were helping my father improve his health, according to his wishes, and she wanted us to stop and just go home and leave my father with no support or help from his children.<<She probably thought you were going to talk him into changing his will. Money does do strange things to people. And you two are good hearts not to have done so.You've made me rethink my own situation. While as I said, I've helped my daughter out a lot already (did I mention I just sent her $160 for car repairs?), I believe I'll change my insurance and IRA so that she gets a percentage. So prehaps all this has done some good after all.
Pknudson,I think that's a good choice. At the end of your life, I think your daughter will want to know that you remembered her. You can say you paid for her college and paid for this and that over the years, but I think it helps the survivors to know that you wanted them to share, at least a little, at the very end too. Often it's not really about the money, it's about being excluded, and that never feels good, no matter what was done for you during the decedent's life.Just my 2 cents.
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