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J D Haas
J D Haas, Lawyer (JD)
Category: Legal
Satisfied Customers: 2998
Experience:  21 years as a serious injury/wrongful death trial lawyer; nationally board certified; 43 jury trials
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My wifes father passed away in his residential state

Resolved Question:

My wife's father passed away in his residential state of Virginia. He was divorced with 4 grown children. He told the children he had a will and a niece told the children she was the executor. It's been 4 weeks since death, no will has been registered, and the niece is unreachable. She didn't particularly like the children. What would be the next steps to settle the estate? Do the children have rights to enter the house (no key) and search for a will?
Submitted: 9 years ago.
Category: Legal
Expert:  J D Haas replied 9 years ago.
1) Contact your wife's father's attorney and see if that attorney drafted a will or knows the whereabouts of a will or the probate lawyer who may have written a will; 2) Contact all of the probate lawyers in the area to determine if they have knowledge of a will in this case; 3) Keep trying to contact the executor; 4) Search the house for a will. If none of the first 3 options work then conduct a search. The children are not trespassing since they are the heirs of the decedent. Best wishes.

I hope that I have helped you and that I have answered all of your questions. Please
ask more questions if I have not answered all of your questions.

Please be aware that my answer is not legal advice, it is merely information.
You and I have not entered into an attorney/client relationship, and I am not
responsible for your legal rights. The only way for us to be in an
attorney/client relationship is if you have signed a written retainer agreement
with my law firm.
Customer: replied 9 years ago.
Reply to J D Haas's Post: What are the chances of filing intestate if after all efforts no will is found and what would be a reasonable timeframe to wait before filing? If the niece is the executor, is she setting herself up for legal liabilities?
Expert:  J D Haas replied 9 years ago.
If no will is found you would have to file intestate. A reasonable time frame would be 1-2 months after death. If no will can be found then, it would be reasonable to start proceedings. It is rare for an executor to be liable if the executor does not embezzle or commit fraud. It is rare for a lazy executor to have legal liability.

I hope that I have helped you and that I have answered all of your questions. Please
ask more questions if I have not answered all of your questions.

Please be aware that my answer is not legal advice, it is merely information.
You and I have not entered into an attorney/client relationship, and I am not
responsible for your legal rights. The only way for us to be in an
attorney/client relationship is if you have signed a written retainer agreement
with my law firm.
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