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Barrister
Barrister, Attorney
Category: Legal
Satisfied Customers: 36580
Experience:  16 yrs practice, Civil, Criminal, Domestic, Realtor, Landlord 26 yrs
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I am in my brother-in-law and sisters will. My sister just

Customer Question

I am in my brother-in-law and sisters will. My sister just passed. My brother-in-law is telling me, just as she did that they are leaving a sum of money to me. He is stating rather than waiting until he passes, he would like to give the sum to me now. The amount he is implying does not coincide with what my sister stated prior to her death. Equally, she wrote n a piece of paper about a month prior to her passing some additional things she wanted me to have. She gave a copy to him but he claims she was not in her right mind. I have not yet asked to see the will, and he has not offered nor do I feel he will be comfortable with me asking. I suspect he is trying to offer me a lesser amount than in the will. He is 67 and I am 61. What should I do?
JA: What state are you in? It matters because laws vary by location.
Customer: We are in Georgia, USA
JA: Has anything been filed or reported?
Customer: He shared he is preparing to file probate
JA: Anything else you want the lawyer to know before I connect you?
Customer: I cannot think of anything else at the moment.
Submitted: 2 months ago.
Category: Legal
Expert:  Barrister replied 2 months ago.

Hello and welcome! My name is ***** ***** I am a licensed attorney and will try my best to help with your situation. There may be a slight delay in my responses as I research statutes or ordinances and type out an answer or reply, but rest assured, I am working on your question.

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If she had a will, then whoever is the named executor would be responsible for filing it at the probate court and settling her estate according to the terms of the will.

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But if the will was lost or destroyed, then the husband would inherit everything if they had no children. The paper would not be legally binding unless it was an amendment to her will that was signed, dated, and witnessed by independent witnesses. Any changes to a will have to be done by a "codicil" (i.e. amendment) or by redrafting the entire will.

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So at this point, the only thing you could do to force the issue would be to file your own probate case to settle her estate, then tell the judge that the husband had sister's will and the judge could issue an order for him to admit the will to the probate court. Then whoever is named as executor would take over.

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There is no easy way to go about confronting this issue.

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thanks

Barrister

Customer: replied 2 months ago.
My brother-in-law is executor and the will is in a trust. I am not as concerned about the amended will she later wrote, although it his reaction was concerning. I am more concerned about the primary will. He has admitted I am named in that will. When he files probate, which he intends to do promptly, will I be contacted, and do I have a right to receive a copy of the will? Or is my only option to ask him to see the will? If his intent, as it seems to be, is to basically remove me from the will upon his death by settling a lesser sum now, how can he perform that process? In other words, would he not then need to have me sign something agreeing to those terms, and if so, that equally would be an opportunity for me to then ask to see the will. He hired a personal assistant that he has now given all access to their home and personal items. She acts likes she is replaces my sister, but more importantly is that he allows her to take such a stance. This is irrelevant to my questions, but equally creates concern about the future of our relationship.
Expert:  Barrister replied 2 months ago.

I apologize for the delay, just got out of court..

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When he files probate, which he intends to do promptly, will I be contacted, and do I have a right to receive a copy of the will?

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Yes, the executor has a legal duty to notify all beneficiaries of the will. Once filed, the will becomes a public document and you would have the right to request a copy from the executor or get one directly from the probate court clerk.

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If his intent, as it seems to be, is to basically remove me from the will upon his death by settling a lesser sum now, how can he perform that process?

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Legally he can't. The only way he could defeat any gift would be if he destroyed the will and claimed she did it prior to death. Then he gets everything.

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And the personal assistant sounds like something more than just a bookkeeper or house cleaner....

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thanks

Barrister