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Q: My father passed away in January 2014. His Current Wife Will Not Let Us See the Will.

  • By: Christopher Benson
  • Published: February 23, 2014
The following a recent question received:

Q. My father passed away January 19, 2014. His current wife will not let us see his Will. When can we (his children) be able to see his Will?

My father told us he had a will made up in 2005 and we were to be in good hands. I am XX years old and sis is XX years old. We had a close relationship with him. when he passed we waited for a month to see if his wife of 10 years would present the will, she did not so we asked to see it. She said their is nothing to see because it was made up in a way that everything is all hers to do as she wishes. My grandparents home as well as the home my father owned for XX yrs and all that he acquired. I called his attorney where the will was made up and he said he could not discuss it with me. DOES THE WILL HAVE TO BE FILED within 40 days of his passing? She said she was having a new will made. How do we know if she has the right to sell the houses and contents if she so chooses. Help us please!

Answer by Christopher A. Benson

The answer to your questions is found in RCW 11.20.010 as follows:

RCW 11.20.010:

Any person having the custody or control of any will shall, within thirty days after he or she shall have received knowledge of the death of the testator, deliver said will to the court having jurisdiction or to the person named in the will as executor, and any executor having in his or her custody or control any will shall within forty days after he or she received knowledge of the death of the testator deliver the same to the court having jurisdiction. Any person who shall wilfully violate any of the provisions of this section shall be liable to any party aggrieved for the damages which may be sustained by such violation.

In Washington, beneficiaries named under a Will and natural “heirs at law” have rights to be provided copies of estate planning documents even if they are not entitled to receive a “gift” under the terms of the estate planning documents.

You need to retain an attorney who is experienced in estate planning, probate and TEDRA litigation (RCW 11.96A et seq.)

Christopher A. Benson has over 27 years of experience handling estate disputes and litigation.

Christopher Benson

About the Author Chris served on the Board of Directors for Habitat for Humanity
Seattle/S. King County for 10 years and served as Vice President
of the organization during part of that time. Read More