How to Find Out if My Father Left Me Any Assets

By Ciele Edwards

When an individual dies, his assets pass to his beneficiaries according to the terms outlined in his will. If he did not leave behind a will, he died “intestate,” and the probate court in the county where he lived distributes his remaining assets according to state law. As the child of the deceased, you may be entitled to an inheritance regardless of whether your father left behind a will. The will's executor or the probate court must notify you of any inheritance you are scheduled to receive after your father's death. The probate process, however, is not perfect and beneficiaries do not always receive proper notice of their inheritance. If you suspect you may be entitled to a portion of your deceased father's estate, you have several options, depending on whether your father left a will.

When an individual dies, his assets pass to his beneficiaries according to the terms outlined in his will. If he did not leave behind a will, he died “intestate,” and the probate court in the county where he lived distributes his remaining assets according to state law. As the child of the deceased, you may be entitled to an inheritance regardless of whether your father left behind a will. The will's executor or the probate court must notify you of any inheritance you are scheduled to receive after your father's death. The probate process, however, is not perfect and beneficiaries do not always receive proper notice of their inheritance. If you suspect you may be entitled to a portion of your deceased father's estate, you have several options, depending on whether your father left a will.

Step 1

Visit the county court in the county where your father's will was probated. If the probate process is complete, your father's will is a matter of public record. You can search the public records held at the courthouse for your father's will to determine whether he left you any assets. If you do not live in or near the county that holds your father's will on record, that does not mean that you cannot access it. Some probate courts maintain a public records database online. This allows you to search for your father's will – and your potential inheritance – without ever leaving your home.

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Step 2

Visit your state's unclaimed property database and conduct a search under your father's name. If any assets he left behind after his death went unclaimed, the state manages the money until the rightful heir comes forward. Although some states make an effort to locate the rightful beneficiaries of unclaimed assets, not all have the time and resources to do so. Thus, it's sometimes up to you to locate your unclaimed inheritance.

Step 3

Contact the executor of your father's estate. The executor of your father's will is responsible for managing his assets and debts following his death. This responsibility includes notifying beneficiaries of their inheritances. Because the executor has a copy of your father's will, the executor will know how much of an inheritance, if any, your father set aside for you.

Step 4

Contact the administrator of your father's estate if he died without a will. An administrator's responsibilities are similar to an executor's. When an individual dies without leaving behind a will, the court appoints an administrator to ensure the deceased's assets are distributed according to state law. The administrator of your father's estate can explain the contents of your father's estate and how much of that estate you are entitled to under your state's intestate succession laws.

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What Do I Do if My Father Had a Will & Has Died?

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How to Find Lost Inheritance Money

Just because a loved one leaves assets to you in his will, that does not guarantee that you will immediately receive those assets. If the probate court cannot locate you following your family member's death, it will turn the unclaimed funds over to a holding office regulated by the state. While some state agencies, such as West Virginia's treasury department, make an effort to locate the rightful owners of unclaimed property, not all agencies are as thorough. If you suspect that a deceased relative may have left you an inheritance, targeted sleuthing helps you uncover and claim the missing funds.

Executor of Estate Law in Ohio

An executor is the person appointed, in your will, to administer your estate after your death. Your executor should be someone you trust to disburse your property to your beneficiaries according to your wishes. While you are free to name your executor, Ohio law does set forth certain requirements to ensure the probate process goes smoothly. The probate court must approve the executor before he starts work. If you do not have a will, the court will appoint an administrator. Collectively, executors and administrators are referred to as personal representatives.

What Is a Universal Heir?

Creating a will gives you the opportunity to dictate who gets what after you die. After paying off your debts, the probate court distributes any remaining assets to your loved ones according to the directions you provided in your will. If you leave all of your remaining assets to one person rather than stipulating that the court divide your assets between more than one party, the beneficiary of the inheritance is your “sole” or “universal” heir.

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