Legal Question in Wills and Trusts in Pennsylvania

no communication between executor and possible heirs

My father died recently, a second marriage. There was some unusual activity such as his biological children hindered from seeing him before his death and the morning of the funeral, bringing his clothes in trash bags. It's only been a few weeks but so far the children who are possible heirs have not been told anything as to what is in the will.

Just a day ago we found out she sold his car. At what point can we step in and find out what is in the will? Not a good communication situation, tension, so it isn't like we can call her up. She was the spouse for years and now also the executor. Before he died and we weren't allowed to see him, could she have had him sign things over to her? Was on morphine. We have called Register of wills, so far no will in probate. Can she ''lose'' the will? Does she have to communicate to any heir within a specific amount of time and let us know what we've been willed? Do we have to wait 5 mo. or so till it gets to probate? Can she just get rid of his things that may go to us and say she can't find them now? Daddy kept their names seperately, only hers on her home, his name on his car...type thing, how then can she sell his car? Does she automatically get his IRA being his spouse?

Asked on 5/03/04, 4:00 pm

1 Answer from Attorneys

Anthony Park Anthony S. Park, PLLC

Re: no communication between executor and possible heirs

If yor step-mother has been named executrix, then the surrogate's court must have a copy of the will. You should be able to request a copy of the will from the court.

He certainly could have modified his will before he passed away. You can challenge the validity of the will, but this sounds difficult and costly to prove.

Yes, the executrix or administratrix must notify all potential beneficiaries that the will is about to be probated. All beneficiaries should receive a copy of the will.

There is no requirement to wait 5 months to probate a will.

If she has been selling anything of significance (real estate, cars, etc.), county records will show when and for how much items were sold. Then the proceeds will be part of the distributable estate.

The beneficiary terms of an IRA depend on how your father set it up when he opened the account.

Email or call my office if you feel as though you need an attorney to help represent you in this matter.

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Answered on 5/03/04, 4:29 pm

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