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Barrister
Barrister, Attorney
Category: Legal
Satisfied Customers: 34837
Experience:  16 yrs practice, Civil, Criminal, Domestic, Realtor, Landlord 26 yrs
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My husband just passed. He left a will that was witnessed

Customer Question

My husband just passed. He left a will that was witnessed and notarized but not prepared by an attorney leaving most everything to me. Is there anything I need to do for Washington state or the federal government? Also the will has not been updated so he left a small amount of money to a sister who won't speak to him an hasn't for several years. Am I obligated to give it to her anyway?
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Legal
Expert:  Barrister replied 1 year ago.

Hello and welcome! My name is ***** ***** I will try my level best to help with your situation or get you to someone who can.

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The way a will works is that it is just a directive to the executor as to how to distribute the deceased's assets after they pass. But it has to actually go through probate court in order for it to be formally recognized by a judge and have the executor appointed so that they have the legal authority to take control over any assets in the deceased's name to distribute them after paying all debts and bills of the deceased and the estate.

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So if he has things like bank accounts or real estate in his name solely, a probate case would have to be filed and opened so as to settle the estate and be able to transfer those assets to you as the beneficiary.

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But if everything already had your name on it, like vehicles, real estate, bank accounts, retirement accounts, etc. then there wouldn't really be a reason to file a probate case because everything would automatically become yours as the surviving joint owner.

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And yes, if the bequest is in the legally executed will, it is valid and the executor of the will would be legally obligated to comply with the gift directive to sister.

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thanks

Barrister

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