Trying to find out if father left a will or had life insurance, but can’t get into his residence and don’t have passwords?

My father (who is divorced from my mother) lived in a different house with his girlfriend for a long time, but never legally wed. The girlfriend’s family gave me some electronic equipment (iphone/laptop) but don’t have the passwords to access it. The girlfriend’s family does not want us to review any “paperwork”, because my father and his girlfriend had joint investment accounts. My sister who once stayed in that house for family visits & is first born, has been banned by the girlfriend’s family from entering the house because they did not want her to touch any “paperwork”. I’ve been told by the family I could still visit but only AFTER they sort the paperwork on their end. I live closer to my father. My sister had to fly in when she heard about our dad’s passing, so wanted to go through paperwork as quickly as possible, but was prevented from doing so. What rights does she have to access any meaningful “paperwork”? For the record, my father passed at 81, the girlfriend is 92 with dementia. I know they have joint investments, cause I’ve house sit for them, and they asked me to pay snail mail bills while both were healthy enough to travel the globe.

ANSWER BY MARGARET CROSS-BELIVEAU:

It is unfortunate that the girlfriend’s family is putting up roadblocks.  The joint account would automatically go to the girlfriend at your father’s death, so what why would you ask to review those records?  What you want is his Will and information on individually owned accounts.  If the girlfriend’s family refuses to hand over those documents within a reasonable time period, then you will have to file to open a probate without the will, seeking access to the records and a potential will.  As far as life insurance, you can use one of the free policy locator websites on the internet.

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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.

Beliveau Law Group: Massachusetts | Florida | New Hampshire

The estate administration and estate planning attorneys at the Beliveau Law Group provide legal services for estate planning, probate, estate administration, and trust administration. The law firm has offices and attorneys in Naples, Florida; Waltham, Massachusetts; and Salem, New Hampshire.

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