How can we compel brother to give us the original will?

1 answer | Last updated: Sep 14, 2017
Julroop1 asked...

My ex-husband's mother died in August of this year. According to her will, my ex-husband was named as the executor. His brother actually has the original will, while my ex-husband only has a copy of the will. There is bad blood between the brothers and the brother won't give him the original.

My ex has spoken with several attorneys and according to them there isn't anything that can be done without the original will. The brother is residing in the home that is to be sold and hasn't paid any of the outstanding bills that was in their mother's name. This has been a very "UGLY and SAD" situation. What are my ex-husband's legal rights and what should he do to get his mother's final wishes carried out? Any help that you can supply me with in order to help will be greatly appreciated. The state this is in is Georgia....just in case that was needed for law purposes.

Thank you!

Expert Answers

Steve Weisman hosts the nationally syndicated radio show A Touch of Grey, heard on more than 50 stations, including WABC in New York City and KRLA in Los Angeles. He is a practicing lawyer specializing in estate planning and is admitted to practice before the United States Supreme Court. He's a public speaker and commentator who has appeared on many radio and television shows throughout the country, and he's the legal editor of Talkers magazine, the preeminent trade publication of talk radio. His latest book is The Truth About Avoiding Scams.

Most states including Georgia have laws that require a person who has possession of an original Will to promptly file it with the Probate Court. Title 53, Section 53-5-5 of the Georgia Code not only requires that a person in possession of an original Will promptly file the original Will with the Probate Court, but also provides for a person refusing to do so being possibly subject to a fine and even imprisonment for contempt of court. I suggest that your ex-husband hire a lawyer to represent him and the estate. He should then have the lawyer petition the Probate Court in order to have the brother file the Will.