Q: I found out my mother passed away from an ex-son in law that send us a text regarding her funeral services. I had been visiting my mother in California, four times a year because they would not let me bring her to PA to take care of her. She had dementia and it was hard seeing her neglected in their care. I am the only daughter I was pushed away by my brothers. (Ligonier, PA)
A: If your mother had a will and there was a need to file it, the person appointed as her executor in the will would likely have filed it in the Probate Court of the county in which she died. You can call that county’s probate court and see if they can tell you or direct you on how to do a record search. If you find the will and can get a copy of it and still have questions, you would need to consult with a lawyer to review the will. If you need legal representation to challenge the will or find more information, it would be best to hire a lawyer in the same county where she died.
Q: I was the beneficiary of my Dad’s military death insurance when he recently passed away. I don’t have my Dad’s last will and testament. 2 other family members have the will though. Am I legally entitled to have a copy? If so, what is the procedure for me to acquire the will if they don’t want to give me a copy?
A: You deserve answers to your questions. If your father died with any property in his name, a house, car, bank accounts, annuities, etc., it may be necessary to open an estate to pass this property on to his heirs. If your family has filed the will, and thus opened an estate, you can obtain a copy from your local Register of Wills. If you are in Pittsburgh, the Register of Wills is in the City-County Building at 414 Grant Street in downtown Pittsburgh. If family members will not share a copy with you upon request, that is unfortunate. If so, don’t despair, you can seek the help of a lawyer. A lawyer can send them a letter and if still no response, have them summoned to court to produce the will by filing a Petition for Rule to Show Cause.