Mom died and I’m not allowed in our vacation home. What can I do?


Q. My father died a number of years ago and left my sister as executor to care for my mom. During that time I have not been allowed access to the family vacation home. My mother recently died and still I have not been allowed access to the home. I would like to go back to grieve since it’s been four years since I went back. How do I review the will?
— Son

A. We’re sorry to hear about your parents.

Disagreements among family members after the death of a loved one can be especially challenges.

Your sister, as executor, was required to send the beneficiaries and all next-of-kin a notice of probate, which informs the recipient that a copy of the will shall be provided to all of the beneficiaries and next-of-kin upon request., said Shirley Whitenack, an estate planning attorney with Schenck, Price, Smith & King in Florham Park.

The executor is responsible to send a copy of the will to those who request it, she said.

“If the executor refuses to provide a copy, the reader can contact the county surrogate’s office where the will was probated and obtain a copy for a small fee,” Whitenack said. “The reader may also be able to review a copy of the title to the vacation home online.”

Assuming title to the property passed to your mother alone upon the death of your father, your mom’s will would govern the disposition of the vacation home, Whitenack said.

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This story was originally published on Aug. 23, 2022. presents certain general financial planning principles and advice, but should never be viewed as a substitute for obtaining advice from a personal professional advisor who understands your unique individual circumstances.