My brother who has been estranged from his two adult children for several years has just passed away. Apparently, he had a new will drawn up two weeks before he passed. The 'new' will is in the hands of a local attorney who has told his children that they have "no right to see what the will says". Supposedly, everything in the estate is going to my brothers "visiting nurse" who just happens to be the attorneys sister. The attorney told his children that "they will be allowed to see the will in six months, after it has gone thru probate". Can this possibly be true? The children are not privy to ANY information?
3 Answers from Attorneys
Almost all of that is completely wrong. Fist, whoever has possession of the original Will (attorney included) has a duty to file the Will within 30 days after death. Once filed, it is public record for anyone to view.
Withing 14 days after opening a probate estate, the executor named in a will admitted to probate must mail notice to all heirs, whether or not they're named in the will. Your brother's children are his heirs. They are entitled to notice. They then have a total of 6 months to contest. The executor cannot hide the will/probate for 6 months to defeat the children's right to contest.
If the Will truly was drawn up 2 weeks prior to death by an attorney whose sister and visiting nurse is named as beneficiary, then there are some serious problems here. The children need to contact a probate attorney immediately.
Preparing to answer, but it would almost word for word be a repeat of what Attorney Gottlieb advised. Also, if you have access to the earlier will, your attorney may want to act on it.
I also echo the thoughts of Mr. Gottlieb. I strongly recommend that the children consult with their own attorney immediately. They only have 6 months to challenge the Will once probate begins.