I actually live in the UK. My aunt, who emigrated to the USA in the 60’s, passed away nearly 7 months ago. Since then we have contacted the Probate Court to find probate of estate has not been filed. We know there is a will, as my uncle (deceased), showed it to my father on his last visit to the USA. We have contacted the retirement complex numerous times by phone and email regarding finding the will, which they are still saying they are looking for but cannot find. We have kindly asked for details of the date of her passing, what was the cause of her passing, who her doctor was, what has happened to her belongings, etc, but have been told they are not legally able to give us such information. They received a death certificate from the funeral directors but are reluctant to email a copy. My aunt had 2 power of attorney whom died before herself. Is there any way we can view the will if not found at the retirement complex, and what would be the best solution regarding probate? Myself and my sister, both named on will, and my mother, are the only living relatives of my aunt. Any advice would be extremely appreciated. Thank you.
ANSWER BY MARGARET CROSS-BELIVEAU:
Only the Personal Representative has legal authority over her probate assets. As the will cannot be located at this time, you must presume that the will has been lost. If you happen to find a copy of the lost will, there is a procedure to file for a probate. If you are unable to locate the will or a copy, the assets will have to be probated under the intestate statute and your mother will inherit the assets. You, your sister, or your mother may apply to be the Personal Representative. You will need to appoint a “resident agent” to serve for you within the state in which the probate is filed because you have no ties in the state. The resident agent may be a person or a company who is willing to accept correspondence to you from the court. After you are appointed and gain access to her assets, you may discover the will. There is a procedure to follow if this happens.
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