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How to obtain a copy of my father's will after he has died

Updated April 17, 2017

After your father has died, it's important you carry out his final wishes, which might be written down in a last will and testament. To obtain a copy of his will, you'll need to take the time to visit his home or his lawyer's office. You might not want to do this after funeral services, but the faster you and your family can tie up loose ends, the faster you can start to heal from your father's death.

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  1. Gather your family. If your mom is still alive and you have siblings, you should all gather to discuss your father's wishes. Someone may know where your father kept his will, or the name of his attorney, who might have the will at her office.

  2. Search the house. If no one in your family knows where your father kept his will, you'll need to search through his belongings. Start in his den or study, look in his desk and flip through all his files. If your dad was an avid reader, flip through all of his books, especially his favourites, to see if he hid a copy of the will inside one of them.

  3. Search outside the home. If your father was still employed, go to his office and search his desk, files and books. Check for a safe-deposit box at his bank; if he had one, obtain access to the box to check for the will and other effects.

  4. Contact your father's lawyer. If you know your father did all of his business through a lawyer, this may be your first course of action. However, if you don't know if your father had a lawyer, search his files and personal address book to see if a lawyer's name is listed.

  5. Tip

    Hand the will over to its executor once you've found it. Once the will has been read to all heirs, you'll be able obtain a copy for your personal records.

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About the Author

Jaime Swanson started working as a journalist in 2001. She has written and edited for newspapers in northern Illinois, including the "Daily Southtown" and the "Daily Herald," both in suburban Chicago. Swanson holds a Bachelor of Arts in English from Northern Illinois University.

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