How can you get a letter of testamentary or similar document when there is no probate?

Additional Information:

My mom and sister died within two days of each other. I am my mom’s representative and her will states that my sister or her estate was to receive a portion of her assets. My sister’s husband (the trustee) is willing to disclaim any proceeds but the insurance company wants a letter of testamentary to validate his right to do so. Since my sister’s estate was not probated what do I do now. My mom was in Colorado and my sister from California.


You cannot obtain what you are looking to do without opening a probate for your sister’s estate. Only the fiduciary of your sister’s estate can disclaim or accept the assets. A probate for you sister will have to be opened in either case.

Margaret L. Cross-Beliveau, Esq., LL.M.

Legal Disclaimer: Please note that this answer does not constitute legal advice, and should not be relied on since each situation is fact specific, and it is impossible to evaluate a legal problem without a comprehensive consultation and review of all the facts and documents at issue. This answer does not create an attorney-client relationship. A lawyer experienced in the subject area and licensed to practice in the jurisdiction should be consulted for legal advice.

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The attorneys at The Beliveau Law Group provides legal services for estate planning (wills and trusts), Medicaid (planning and applications), probate (estate and trust administration), business law (formation and operation), real estate (residential and commercial), taxation (federal and state), and civil litigation (in connection with these practice areas). The law firm has offices and attorneys in Naples, Florida; Boca Raton, Florida; Danvers, Massachusetts; Waltham, Massachusetts; Quincy, Massachusetts; Manchester, New Hampshire and Salem, New Hampshire.

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