What happens to the estate when there was no will (it was torn up per the widow)? Is there a way to find out what can be done?

Additional Information:

According to the widow a will did exist but was torn up & a new will was never done prior to the husbands death.  Isn’t is a law that you have to record or register a will in your county seat?   I have been told that before.  The widow is withholding information from the children he had from a prior marriage. She claims everything is hers ..is that true?


There is no law that a Will must be recorded before death.  A will may be revoked or amended at any time. A valid way to revoke a will is to destroy the original.  Once the original has been destroyed, any property owned solely in the decedent’s name will pass under the intestate succession laws of the state of the decedent’s residence.  The entire property may or may not pass to the surviving spouse.  Some states give a percentage to the children.   Also, if all the property was owned jointly with the surviving spouse, there will be no assets to probate.  Everything will pass to the surviving owner.

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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