Who Gets a Copy of My Will After I Pass Away?
Contrary to popular belief, wills are no longer read aloud to the family. Our Texas estate planning lawyers explain who gets a copy of the will.
Many people think that after a person passes away, their entire family gathers around to listen to the estate planning attorney read the will out loud. Historically, this event did occur, largely because literacy rates were not as high as they are today. Now, the family does not gather around in one place for the reading of the will. However, certain people are given copies of a person’s last will and testament and it is important to know who those people are.
The Attorney for the Estate
After a person passes away, there is typically a lawyer involved with the distribution and management of the estate. The attorney should receive a copy of the will as soon as it is located, so they can make copies and distribute them to anyone who has an interest in the estate. Typically, only the named executor has a copy of the Will at the outset of the probate.
The person named within the will as the independent executor should always receive a copy of the will, and they should be one of the first to receive it. Even more importantly, the executor should access to the original will. An executor has many duties, including locating the beneficiaries, notifying creditors of the decedent’s death, paying all debts, and ensuring the instructions within the will are carried out. To do all of this, the executor needs a copy of the will and should have access to the original.
The attorney for the estate will also send a copy of the will to anyone that is named as a beneficiary after the probate has been filed. Often, wills name minor children or incapacitated individuals as beneficiaries. In these cases, the guardians of these individuals should receive a copy of the will.
Other People and Agencies
While the above individuals will always receive a copy of the will, there are sometimes other people who will receive a copy, as well. These may include the accountant for the estate, and potentially the IRS if the estate is taxable. If a revocable trust is tied to the will, the named trustee will also receive a copy of the will.
Call Our Experienced Texas Estate Planning Lawyers for Help with Your Will
Although the above individuals must receive a copy of the will so they can get the probate process started, it is important to note that once the estate goes through probate, the will becomes public record, and anyone can see it. If you need help drafting a will that will be enforced and impossible to challenge, our Brazoria County estate planning lawyers in Lake Jackson at Cordoba Law Firm, PLLC, can help you do it. Call us today at 979.297.2854 or contact us online to schedule a consultation.