How can I find out if I'm in my Uncles will?

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Latest post 03-28-2012 4:32 PM by Paddywakk. 11 replies.
  • 03-24-2012 4:15 PM

    • JadaMaria
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    • NY
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    How can I find out if I'm in my Uncles will?

    I was very close with my Uncle my whole life. He died a little less than a year and a half ago. His wife (my Aunt) did not let me know he passed away. I had sent him Christmas cards and gifts and called him several time with no response. I didn't want to bother him because he was very ill from a mysterious illness. I saw a post from one of my cousins on Facebook saying rest in peace dad dated three months earlier ( a couple weeks before that Christmas.) I call my Uncles house again and one of my cousins answered and was very nasty stating they never wanted to speak to me again and that my Uncle had died 2 weeks before Christmas, they said they had no funeral, wake or obituary and that his body had been donated to science. My Uncle had told me since I was a very young child that he was leaving me something when he died. When I spoke to my cousin that day she said he had left me nothing and to never call them ever again and that my Uncle hated me. This is very hard to believe since we had been so close. I spoke with my other Aunt (my Uncles sister) today she has also been very ill having many surgeries so I was unable to speak with her until today. Thank goodness she is feeling better. Our conversation is what is making me post this. She said that she believes that they are hiding what is in his will. She also told me that one of my Uncles students (he was a teacher) who he was very close with was told by my Uncle that he wanted him to have a couple of my Uncles antique cars when he died and when he came to get them my Aunt would not let him have the cars. This makes me even more curious if had left me something as well. Especially, since he had always told me he was. I am very hurt by this whole situation. My Uncle was like a father to me since my father (his brother) died when I was a child he took me under his wing so it seems quite unbelievable that he hated me since we were so close. How can I find out if they are lying about his will? I'm also curious about his death as well. My Uncles doctor kept telling him he had all the symptoms of lung cancer except he couldn't find any cancer. Trouble breathing, rapid weight loss and seemed to get disorintated, aggitated, would forget peoples names which all seemed to happen rapidly and then he seemed to slowly waste away. Their behavior seems very odd and I don't even know if there could be an investigation because his body was donated to science. Please help!!

  • 03-24-2012 4:34 PM In reply to

    Re: How can I find out if I'm in my Uncles will?

    JadaMaria:
    I was very close with my Uncle my whole life. He died a little less than a year and a half ago

    Couldn't have been very close those last few years of his life.

    JadaMaria:
    My Uncle had told me since I was a very young child that he was leaving me something when he died.

    100% meaningless and unenforceable.

    JadaMaria:
    How can I find out if they are lying about his will?

    Easy.

    Go to the probate courthouse in the county where your uncled resided when he died and look in the probate case file.

    You'll find everything you need to know.

    Chances are, however, that everything went to his wife when he died because that's how it usually works with married people.

     

    • The right of the people 
    • to keep and bear arms,
    • shall not be infringed.
  • 03-24-2012 5:18 PM In reply to

    • JadaMaria
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    • NY
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    Re: How can I find out if I'm in my Uncles will?

    We were very close although the last couple of years I couldn't go up to see him because my wife was very very very ill she had gone into congestive heart failure twice after giving birth to our son and was in the hospital on life support and then had a very long hard recovery. She needed my help with nearly everything and we also had a new born. My Uncle lived a couple of hours away and I couldn't leave her alone for that long. He and I spoke on the phone a few times a week. It became harder and harder for him to talk on the phone because he was having such a hard time breathing. It got to the point that we could only talk for a few minute because it was so hard to breathe. He would cry and insist that I not come there because he didn't want me to see him this way. He was always so strong. I only mentioned that he said he left me something because that is what he said not because it's enforceable. I take great offense to your unnecessary and callous words. Also, he has a will so duh it doesn't all go to his wife unless there is no will or he states it in his will. I thought you were supposed to be a lawyer??? Guess not.

    Is there a way to have his death investigated  since his body was donated to science and picked up directly from their house? No one in the entire family was notified of his death. It's all very strange. Then to later find out that his wife had been cheating on him for years and years with other women it's so shocking...it's like something you'd see on Tru TV or something.

  • 03-24-2012 6:53 PM In reply to

    Re: How can I find out if I'm in my Uncles will?

    JadaMaria:
    I take great offense to your unnecessary and callous words

    Sorry, didn't mean to upset you.

    JadaMaria:
    he has a will so duh it doesn't all go to his wife unless there is no will or he states it in his will.

    Well, you don't know what's in the will, which is why I suggested a visit to the courthouse to look at it.

    JadaMaria:
    I thought you were supposed to be a lawyer???

    Gee, what gave you that idea? The word "adjuster" in my user name?

    JadaMaria:
    Is there a way to have his death investigated  since his body was donated to science and picked up directly from their house?

    Realistically, at this late date, probably not, unless you had some sort of evidence of foul play. But feel free to call the authorities and report your suspicions if you like.

    Again, go visit the probate court and see what's in the file. That'll probably answer all your questions about who got what.

     

    • The right of the people 
    • to keep and bear arms,
    • shall not be infringed.
  • 03-24-2012 7:11 PM In reply to

    • DOCAR
      Lawyer
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    • Joined on 12-09-2000
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    Re: How can I find out if I'm in my Uncles will?

    Also, he has a will so duh it doesn't all go to his wife unless there is no will or he states it in his will.

    Not necessarily.  If everything was title jointly with his wife, such as real estate, bank accounts, brokerage accounts, cars, the will would have had no effect, it would have  all passed to her by operation of law at his death, despite any contrary language in the will.

  • 03-24-2012 7:40 PM In reply to

    Re: How can I find out if I'm in my Uncles will?

    JadaMaria:
    so, he has a will so duh it doesn't all go to his wife unless there is no will or he states it in his will. I

    A couple of things to consider.

    First, the will only affects property that is in his probate estate. A lot of his property may not have gone to his estate. Any interest in property he owned jointly with his wife as tenants by the entirety (in those states, like NY, that recognize that form of ownership) or as joint tenants with a right of survivorship would have passed to her immediately on death and would not be part of his probate estate. Similarly, any bank accounts, CDs, investments, or insurance that he had named her as the beneficiary also go to her immediately when he died and would not be part of his probate estate. Finally, any assets that he had placed in trust (which is a common estate planning technique used in NY) would not be part of his probate estate either. Thus, even if you were given something in the will, that doesn't help you if the probate estate didn't have anything because all his assets passed in some manner that bypassed probate.

    Second, just because he had a will made doesn't mean the will was submitted for probate. If his wife found the will and didn't like what it said, she may have destroyed it. If the will is not submitted to the court for probate, it's worthless. This is why when you make a will you want to leave that will with someone who you can be certain will actually file it for probate. If no will was submitted for probate, then his probate estate gets distributed under the state's intestate succession rules. If he had no kids, his wife would get everything under intestacy in most states.

    The starting point is looking at the probate file, if probate was ever opened in the first place. It's a public record, so anyone can see it. If a will was submitted for probate, it would be there. The file would also list the assets of the probate estate, so you'd have an idea of what he had. Note that assets that bypass the probate estate won't be listed.

    JadaMaria:
    Is there a way to have his death investigated  since his body was donated to science and picked up directly from their house?

    As a practical matter, it is almost certainly too late for any autopsy to be done to see if there was any unnatural cause of death. You can contact law enforcement about your suspicions, but strange behavior alone isn't enough to get an investigation going without some proof that his death was other than by natural causes.

    JadaMaria:
    No one in the entire family was notified of his death. It's all very strange. Then to later find out that his wife had been cheating on him for years and years with other women it's so shocking...it's like something you'd see on Tru TV or something.

    I can tell you that cheating spouses and families that are odds with each other are hardly uncommon. If the wife wasn't well liked by the rest of the family, she may not have felt any need to notify them of his death, whether out of grief, spite, or whatever. It's not the case that someone always rushes out to notify everyone when someone dies. Indeed, it's more common that the survivor tells the family and friends that she likes (or least doesn't dislike) and avoids contacting those she doesn't like because she doesn't want the aggravation of dealing with the ones that she doesn't have good relationships with on top of everything else.

  • 03-26-2012 2:33 PM In reply to

    • JadaMaria
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    Re: How can I find out if I'm in my Uncles will?

    I appreciate the apology. To be honest I have been writing this for my husband. I am the very very sick wife. Who is not anymore thank goodness. I have a lot of trouble remember that time in our life it was very hard in so many ways. I spoke to my husband about it. It was only a month later that he found out. I know it's meaningless. Just an edit. Thank you for the infomation. We will be driving out to the town he lived in. Hopefully, there will be something there. Either way I think it will give him comfort to know. It all seems so weird his Aunt never said an unkind word to him ever. If she didn't like him no one ever had any clue. So it was just strange. On a side note the kid who was supposed to be given the cars was in the will. It will be interesting to find out if it really is there (in probate.) I don't mean to sound money grubbing or something by all of this. My husbands parents were older when they had him and both passed away by the time he was 21. All his family is gone and his 2 Aunts are all he has left which is why this hurt him so badly. If my husband was left anything by his uncle even if it was valuable he would never sell it and he would cherish it always. Sadly, what he wants the most are pictures which I don't see happening. I have one more question and then I'll stop bothering you all. If there is a will in probate would we be able to get a copy to bring home or would we only be able to read it there?

  • 03-26-2012 2:36 PM In reply to

    Re: How can I find out if I'm in my Uncles will?

    You can pay to have the clerks make a copy.

    JadaMaria:
    It all seems so weird his Aunt never said an unkind word to him ever. If she didn't like him no one ever had any clue. So it was just strange

     

    Money changes everything.

  • 03-26-2012 3:00 PM In reply to

    • Kivi
      Consumer
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    • Joined on 01-01-2005
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    Re: How can I find out if I'm in my Uncles will?

    I would call the probate court in the county in which he lived in at the time of death. They may suggest that you hire a copy servicemake the copies for you. If the will was submitted for probate, there also may be an inventory, creditor claims, etc., that have been submitted. You may find that you want more than just a copy of the will.

    Creditor claims come ahead of the claims of most heirs. (There often are some modest exceptions for spouses and minor children.) So, if it looks like the estate is heavily in debt, then even if the will mentioned him, he might not receive anything anyway. Assets would have to be sold to pay creditor claims.

  • 03-27-2012 3:03 PM In reply to

    • JadaMaria
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    • NY
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    Re: How can I find out if I'm in my Uncles will?

    My husband and I took a ride out there today. There is no probate file of any kind at all. Is that normal?

  • 03-27-2012 3:19 PM In reply to

    Re: How can I find out if I'm in my Uncles will?

    JadaMaria:

    My husband and I took a ride out there today. There is no probate file of any kind at all. Is that normal?

    It's normal if probate wasn't necessary.

    As I wrote earlier:

    Chances are, however, that everything went to his wife when he died because that's how it usually works with married people.

    You probably have nowhere to go with this. 

    • The right of the people 
    • to keep and bear arms,
    • shall not be infringed.
  • 03-28-2012 4:32 PM In reply to

    Re: How can I find out if I'm in my Uncles will?

    ..."On a side note the kid who was supposed to be given the cars was in the will"...  This implies that either you or this kid have actually seen the will.

    If you've seen it, how is it that you don't know for sure that you're in it?

    I have to agree, you may not stand a chance.

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