Legal Question in Wills and Trusts in New York

My brother passed away in New York last month. He lived in Boynton Beach for the past two years. My father passed away in May of this year and left a small percentage of his estate as well as a small percentage of the house I live in as a life tenant to my brother. My brother had no spouse or children and my father's money will now go to my brother's estate. As executor of my father's estate I have a right to see my brother's will. I am not in his will.

Asked on 10/18/11, 7:23 am

3 Answers from Attorneys

Susan Accetta Stern Keiser & Panken, LLP

You do not have a right to see your brother's will because of your status as executor of the estate of your father. You only have the right to request and be given a Certificate of Letters Testamentary from the Court which appointed the executor of your brother's estate evidencing the appointment of such person as his personal representative. Who the assets are distributed to under your brother's Will is the business of his executor/personal representative and the beneficiaries thereunder. However, once a Will is filed for probate, it is public record in the court in which it is filed. You should contact the Probate/Surrogate's Court where the Will was probated and ask what the fee would be to have it sent to you.

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Answered on 10/18/11, 7:30 am
Michael Markowitz Michael A. Markowitz, PC

I am sorry for your loss.

Although I do not practice in Florida, if your brother had no spouse or children, and if he died intestate (without a will), then the estate would go to his brothers and sisters. For that alone, you would be entitled to see a copy of the will and given the opportunity to contest probate. Therefore, Ms. Accetta is wrong in her advice.

Ms. Accetta is correct that money from your father's estate to be given to your brother's estate. Therefore, you would need a certificate of Letters Testamentary from the Florida Court in order to determine the executor for the estate.


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Answered on 10/18/11, 10:06 am
David Slater David P. Slater, Esq.

I do practice Estate Law in South Florida. Since your brother left a will, it will go to probate in Palm Beach County. Once filed, you can see a copy.

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Answered on 10/22/11, 1:39 pm

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