Last will and testament with wooden judge gavel

How Do I Find Out if My Parent Had a Will?

Russell Manning Attorney Sept. 26, 2023

Losing a parent is an emotional and difficult experience, regardless of what type of relationship you may have had with them. After they pass away, you may be unsure about whether they had a will in place. Finding out if your parent had a will can be a complicated process — but it is an important one, nonetheless. Determining your parent’s wishes regarding funeral arrangements or the dispersion of their assets can be helpful as you navigate life without them. If your parent did not have a will, that presents a different set of challenges and steps to take. 

If you are located in the Corpus Christi, Texas area, or anywhere throughout South Texas and the Coastal Bend area, I am here to help you find your way through the complex aftermath of your parent’s passing. I have the experience necessary to guide you when searching for answers regarding your parent’s will and pursue a peaceful and desirable resolution. Reach out to me — Russell Manning Attorney at Law — to schedule a consultation. I proudly serve clients throughout the counties of Bee, Kleberg, Nueces, Live Oak, Jim Wells, Aransas, and Victoria, Texas. 

The Importance of Knowing About a Parent’s Will

When a person dies, there are important decisions that must be made. From funeral and burial preferences to distributing assets, having the deceased individual’s wishes clearly put in writing in an official, legal document can take much of the guesswork out of the equation. Additionally, if your parent is found to have had a will in place, it will allow you to prevent their estate from falling solely into the hands of the court, providing you (or other heirs) with the ability to avoid losing control over the process. 

Steps to Take

In order to find out if your parent had a will, there are some basic steps you can follow, such as: 

  • Searching Personal Records & Documents — Search through all of your parent’s files and throughout their home to see if they kept a copy of a will anywhere. It could potentially be located anywhere, from safes and strong boxes to an old shoebox under the bed or anywhere else. 

  • Communicating with Contacts — Speak with your parent’s attorney, accountant, financial advisor, or any other close confidant to learn whether they knew if your parent had a will. 

  • Checking Probate Court — If your parent had a will properly filed, you should be able to find out by contacting the probate courts in any of the counties in which your parent lived during their life. 

Though it can be a tedious process, finding out your parent did, in fact, have a will in place can be a great benefit as you move through the legal process after their death. 

What to Do If No Will Is Found

If no will is found, your parent will be assumed to have died without having one (also known as dying “intestate”). Working with an estate planning attorney with experience and knowledge regarding your state’s intestacy laws will provide you with better guidance as you now face the prospect of having your parent’s estate managed solely by the court. 

Dependable Legal Assistance

Dealing with the loss of a parent can be difficult enough without the uncertainty regarding their estate plan or whether or not they had a will. Without knowing their wishes or having documentation to follow, control of the process will fall to the court system, leaving you out of the discussion. By working with a knowledgeable estate planning attorney, you can have access to the insight and tools you need to determine if your parent had a will and how to proceed if you find out they did — or didn’t. 

I make it my priority to help individuals and families as they make important decisions not only while they are living — but also after loved ones pass away — regarding wills, trusts, and other estate planning matters. If you need guidance in your search for your parents' will following their passing, I am ready to help. Contact me — Russell Manning Attorney at Law — to schedule a consultation to discuss your options. I serve the needs of clients in Corpus Christi, Texas, as well as the Coastal Bend area and throughout South Texas.