What happens during a reading of a will?

Probate Lawyer Sacramento, CA

A last will and testament is a special legal document that has been created by a person who wishes to detail their estate and what happens to it upon their death. Their will should name their beneficiaries, how the beneficiaries will get the assets, and when they will get the assets. It should also name an executor. This person will be in charge of ensuring the beneficiary receives their assets, as well as, other tasks. If someone has recently died, also known as the decedent, you might wonder whether or not you are named in their will, who the beneficiaries are, who the executor is, and whether the will has been probated. All of these questions are valid and can be answered by a probate lawyer. It also will help to understand what a reading of the will is.

The Reading of a Will

In popular films, the reading of a will may involve a lot of action and drama; however, this is a fictional scenario. In reality, the reading of a will often goes on behind closed doors and usually in law firm offices. There is no state that has laws regarding a will needing to be read aloud to anyone, at anytime.

Who Should Receive a Copy of a Will

Typically, it will be up to an estate lawyer or executor of the will to determine who is entitled to a copy of the last will and testament. Once this is determined, they should send a copy via mail to the recipient. In general, the first people to receive a copy will be the beneficiaries and the executor.

If the decedent also had a living trust, in addition to a pour over will, the laws of the state will determine who gets a copy of the will. For example, if the decedent named the same person to act as the trustee and executor of the pour over will, they will receive a copy. If the trustee and executor are different people, they will receive only the copy of the legal document which they have been named in. It is certainly possible that an accountant or other party involved in the estate will also receive a copy of the will or trust.

When a Person Has Been Disinherited in a Will

It is possible that a disinherited person could challenge the validity of the current will that has been filed at the probate court. If any current beneficiaries are concerned about a disinherited person contesting the will, their estate planning lawyer might choose to send a copy of the will prior to probating the estate. This would limit the time in which they could file a will contest. That said, the estate planning lawyer is not legally required to do so, but it is often the best practice as it forces the person who has been disinherited to choose whether or not to pursue a will contest.

Once all relevant parties have received a copy of the will, they will have the opportunity to review the document and proceed with the probate process as they see fit.

Don’t Forget: A Will is ¬†Public Record

No matter who you are, if there is a will, it is required to be made public unless very specific circumstances apply. In general once a will has been submitted to probate, anyone can access it. If you are concerned about whether or not you are included in a will, you can do a search online or go to the courthouse in which the will may have been filed. If you cannot find anything, but are sure you were named in an estate plan, at some point, you might want to consult a probate lawyer Sacramento, CA offers at Yee Law Group.