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not filing original will? fraud?

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My now deceased step father did not file my mothers will. It was drawn up by an attorney in oct 95 as well as his. She died 2 months later. I have never found anyone to help me because I have no money, I know there were other bank accouts and a safety deposit box in my mothers name at the time of her death also. She was a resident of Fla but died in her home in MO. I have the copy and certified testimonies sworn in front of the circuit clerk by all the witnesses and the lawyer.
Unfortunately, he died 3 years later after marrying his mistress of many years and she refused to produce his original will either.
I am a step child, and as we all know, in the probate courts, that is like being the devil's spawn.
My mother inherited a large estate from her parents and had a investment account. I have not been able to gain access to any records without a letter of testimentary which of course I cant get if the courts wont look at the case.
Any suggestions on how I can get back some of my family's estate and or personal heirlooms. The 35 year old he married took it all.
Please help..i am the only living relative left in my family.



MAY 31, 2001


Why oh why have you waited until now to try to do anything about this? You have waited too late!

If you had asked for legal help back when your mother died (in 1995), you could have filed an action in court to force your father to produce the will for probate. Since no will was submitted, she is considered to have died "intestate" (without a will) and there are other legal guidelines that were followed about how her estate was to be distributed, and even as a stepchild you would have been eligible for a share of the estate. Go to the county courthouse (of the city where your mother died) in Missouri (or order copies of the file by mail if you can't visit in person) to see exactly what probate papers were filed on her behalf (someone in the family had to take care of paying her funeral expenses, outstanding debts, taxes, etc.) and that information should be in there, as well as a record of what assets she had.

There is no almost no chance that you could get anything from her estate now, since someone else has already claimed and spent the assets. I just wanted you to read the file for your own information to see what has occurred.

Same concept applies to your father's estate in 1998--if you have a valid, signed copy of your father's will, you could have forced the wife to produce it in court. Now the estate is probably closed, and even when it was open if you had had an attorney representing you, you could have probably negotiated for a portion of the estate or at least some of the furnishing/heirlooms.

You will never be able to get letters testamentary because those letters are only given to the executor of the estate to give that person legal authority to handled the decedent's business affairs.

You also need to look at your father's probate papers in the county courthouse of the city where he died to see how his estate was handled, if you haven't done so already. I honestly don't think that there is much of anything that you can do now, unfortunately.


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The reason I didnt do anything before now is money. I have a list a mile long of attourneys I talked to but they all wanted thousands up front. We did try to do the certified copy with sworn witness statements of my stepfathers will in MO and Florida. MO said they wouldnt even consider it and The lawyer we had in Florida dropped the ball on it when it came time to appear before the judge. The little wifey just told her lawyer that he changed his mind and threw it away.

As for my mothers, I tried and tried to get lawyers to help. My stepfather was a very prominent man and not too many wanted to rile his feathers. I did check with the courts and my father never even filed anythiing in probabte, He said he owned it all. But i know for a fact he didnt.
Since he is dead, can I file a heir affidavit to get appointed now as my mothers only serviving heir, so i can gain access to her old bank records? I feel that is the only way I can show his fraudulent activity,,,But I need someone to give me a shot.
But I have tried for years and have a long list of attourneys. But although my mother was worth about 500,000 when she died,,,i live in a trailer with 500 dollars in the bank
I was even told by one lawyer, that if I could prove he screwed with my mothers private bank records that should have been probated by law, that I can go after the bank bigtime....but I need to get that info myself
Since he is dead, and I am my mothers only child, can I petition for the affadavit of death and heir?
I sure appreciate your help...and if u know of anyone that would take this on a contingency, I am more than happy to help anyway I can. Or tell me what forms to get and I will do it myself.... I cant help to think, that if a judge saw all the attorneys names i have been to that he would see I have been trying to get to him but could never get my foot in the front door,

Thank you again

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