If my dad passed away and his ex-wife is withholding info about wills and insurance, what do I do?

My dad passed away in November 2008. His ex-wife has not informed his 3 children (including me) from his previous marriage specifically what was left for any of us. She had hinted to other relatives that some money was given to her from a life insurance policy, and that my dad asked that she give some of it to my brother, but that as all anyone will tell us. How do I find out if anything was left for any of us?

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    6 Responses to “If my dad passed away and his ex-wife is withholding info about wills and insurance, what do I do?”

    1. goz1111 Says:

      Very hard to say without knowing all the facts, if the estate is of any sizeable amount then the three siblings should pool some monies and see a lawyer, but one thing is always for certain Never Trust A Step Mom when it comes to inheritance and children from the pervious marriage

      Hopefully your father left specific instructions; if not and only stated verbally to the wife how things should be dispensed you maybe out of luck

      The insurance policy is a contract with named beneficiary, as such, it’s not subject to probate and goes to the name person, if that’s the wife she is entitled to all, and then did they own a home? If so how was it titled, also any joint bank accounts would probably be hers as well

      But one never knows consult a lawyer

    2. Bob Says:

      As his next of kin you are entitled to see the will.

    3. Noodles Romanoff Says:

      Depending on which State you live in, as his child, you should have priority over anyone else to be the Personal Representative/Executor of his Estate (that is, unless he actually named someone else in his Will). Check with the court in the county where he resided (usually the Register of Wills or similar probate body) to determine whether a Will was on file, and/or whether an Estate has been open. If the answer is negative to both, then you should Petition the court to open an Estate, naming you as the PR/Executor, and once appointed, you will have the authority to act on behalf of the Estate, which includes ascertaining and gathering all of his assets, obtaining his Will, and probating his estate. If you believe that his ex-wife has his Will, you would have the authority to bring her into court to either provide it, or explain where it is (if one in fact exists). I recommend that you consult with a Probate Attorney in the County where he lived for additional details and advice. Good luck!

    4. Common Says:

      I’m assuming that the ex has filed a probate by this point. All you need to do is head to the courthouse and ask to see the file. The will is going to be a part of the file. Ask the clerk to make copies for you (take some cash, the copies aren’t free). Then you’ll know what you’re supposed to get and can start asking questions. Pay a lawyer to have a one hour consultation to discuss what your options are if you feel like the ex is trying to hose you.

    5. demos_jones Says:

      Insurance is disbursed according to the information furnished on the policy. Asking a beneficiary to divvy it up differently is not legally enforceable. No accounting is required as long as the insurance company complies with the conditions of the policy. Life insurance is not a part of an estate unless no listed beneficiary remains alive.

      Actually, I could name my favorite stripper as the sole beneficiary of my life insurance and there’s nothing at all that my wife could do about it. But my wife is the reason I got the insurance, so I named her as beneficiary. If I want some of it to go to my kids, I need to change it to specify multiple beneficiaries and percentages to each.

    6. butterfly101 Says:

      get a lawyer