Wills and Estates

edwardbrooke22.jpgI was estranged from my Mother who passed away recently, is someone obligated to let me know details of the will? As a youngster I was hit by a car, my parents sued on my behalf, 50 years later I have never received a penny every time I asked my Mother she would change the subject, Was wondering if it’s a waste of time to pursue this as I have permanent damage to the leg that was broken in the accident
            You have two separate issues here: Did your mother leave a valid will and how can you recover the damages award received in a personal injury action many years ago. In all likelihood, your award was an “Infant Compromise” and the funds should have been placed in a restricted account for your benefit when you came of age. That’s how the theory goes. Often parents do not follow these rules and, since the Court has little enforcement power, the award is misappropriated. Sadly, after so many years, its very likely that none of these funds survived.

Regarding your mother’s will: check with the local Probate & Family court to see if a will has been presented for probate. If you know or can find out the name of the lawyer who prepared the will, you can try to contact him/her. The Executor of the will is obligated to contact each party named in the will and inform them of the probate proceedings. Bear in mind,though, that even if your mother does have a will, there is no law requiring her to leave you a part of her estate.
But you still have a few options: If there is a will and you are not named, you can still sue the estate for recovery of the personal injury damages award you never received. If there is no will, you can seek your portion of the intestate division of the estate.
You must speak with a lawyer to explore your rights and obligations.

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