How you can learn if you were named in a will

Often, family members may anticipate that a loved one will name them to his or her will. If the family does not discuss the estate plans put in place, then they may not know whether they stand to inherit from a recently deceased loved one’s estate or not. 

However, paths exist in order to help them learn if the deceased named them as beneficiaries in a will. 

Performing a public records search 

Upon people’s deaths, their personal representatives bear the responsibility of filing their wills for probate. According to FindLaw, probating wills makes them a matter of public record. Therefore, anyone may conduct a search for the probate case. For instance, some areas have online search tools available for this purpose, while in other areas someone may have to visit the appropriate county clerk’s office to search in person. 

Waiting for official notice 

Receiving a notice from the deceased loved one’s personal representative may also clue family members in that they stand to inherit from his or her estate. According to Michigan state law, personal representatives must provide notice to estate heirs, beneficiaries and other interested parties of the probate case within 28 days of their appointment by the court. 

Included in this notice should be a copy of the petition appointing the personal representative, a copy of the will, a copy of the estate’s inventory, a copy of the estate’s accountings, and a copy of the settlement petition or closing statement. In cases when the state or county public administrators serve in this role, they must also provide copies of any statements from the sale of real property.