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Are Family Members Entitled to a Copy of the Will When a Loved One Dies?

  • April 1st, 2016
Do the family of the deceased have the right to be present at a will reading? And are they allowed to receive a copy of the new will that leaves everything to one person in the family instead of divided among the whole family?

We’ve all seen movies where all the family members show up at an attorney's office for the will to be revealed and read out loud. That actually rarely happens. Instead, family members are generally simply provided with copies of the will and related documents, such as trusts. But do they have the right to such documents? Yes, in the case of the will because it must be filed with the appropriate probate court. The personal representative does not have to provide a copy (unless required by the laws of the specific state), but it is a public record that anyone can look at. But the answer is usually no in the case of trusts. They are private and only need to be provided to beneficiaries, not to anyone who is not a beneficiary.

For information on contesting a will, go here:

Local Elder Law Attorneys in Ashburn, VA

Jean Ball

Hale Ball Carlson Baumgartner Murphy PLC
Fairfax, VA

Evan Farr

Farr Law Firm
Fairfax, VA

Margaret O'Reilly

Margaret A. O'Reilly, PC
Herndon, VA


Last Modified: 04/01/2016

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