How do I find out if my grandmother left me money when she passed away?

Written by katherine harder
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How do I find out if my grandmother left me money when she passed away?
Be prepared to search through public records. (document image by AGphotographer from Fotolia.com)

Determining whether your grandmother remembered you in her will can be a tricky process, and one possibly rife with familial strife, especially if the executor is a family member you do not trust or if you are unsure if grandmother even created a will. If no will was filed, as a grandchild, your rights to the estate are nonexistent unless there were no living direct descendants at the time of death. Even if you discover the will and find that grandmother named you as a beneficiary, you will need to be patient; sometimes the distribution of assets can take more than a year.

Skill level:
Moderately Challenging

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Instructions

  1. 1

    Ask your grandfather and parents about your grandmother's will, if they are living and you have contact information for them. They are likely aware of the contents of the will, especially if it mentions them or you.

  2. 2

    Wait to be contacted by the executor of the will, if you can't contact any family members or they can't tell you definitively whether you were named. If grandmother named you in the will as a beneficiary, by law the executor must get in touch with you and let you know when the probate process has begun.

  3. 3

    Contact your grandmother's attorney directly (if you have his contact information) if the executor hasn't contacted you, but you believe this is in error. Ask the attorney whether your grandmother named you in the will and whether you should expect any money.

  4. 4

    Visit the Surrogate Court, or Probate Court, in the county where the will was filed and probated. Since a will becomes a public document after it is probated, anyone can view it. Read through it to find out if your grandmother willed you any money. Make a copy of the will for your own records if you find that she named you as a beneficiary. If no will was filed, your search is over; it is likely that you don't have any claim to any assets left by your deceased grandmother.

Tips and warnings

  • Be diplomatic when discussing the will with other family members. The stress related to distributing assets of deceased members can pull families apart.
  • Even if the will left provisions for the grandchildren specifically, if you are a step-grandchild, you are not considered a grandchild and do not receive a portion of the estate.

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