Estate Law Questions? Ask an Estate Lawyer.
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Has the attorney actually been hired by the executor of the estate to represent the estate?
Has anyone filed a probate case to settle father's estate?
Ok, if no one has filed a probate case, then there is no legal duty for anyone to contact the heirs. It is the filing of the probate case that triggers the duty to notify all heirs, get them a copy of any will, and then proceed with settling the estate.
So if there was no will, his children would inherit some amount by default under state law. If there was a will, then it would control who inherits.
But either way, if the wife is dragging her heels (maybe because any will is not favorable to her), then one of the children will have to pursue this and file their own probate case to "force " the issue. When they are in front of the judge to be appointed, they can tell the judge that the wife may have the will and he can issue an order for her to produce it. Then whoever was named as executor would take over settling the estate according to what the will says.
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