Can an executor change a will? When do I get a copy of the will when one testator has passed and one is still with us?

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Can an executor change a will? When do I get a copy of the will when one testator has passed and one is still with us?

My Grandmama has passed and my
Grandpapa is still with us but
sadly suffers from dementia. My
first question is do I get a copy
of the will now, or not until my
Grandpapa passes away?

My second question is, can any
changes be made to the will by my
Grandpapa who again suffers from
dementia or the executor who is
my aunt? Also my aunt is at odds
with me so I am unable to ask her
anything.

Asked on November 6, 2016 under Estate Planning, Colorado

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

No, an executor may NOT change the will--no one can, other than the testator (person who made the will). The executor must follow the will as written, regardless of what she wants to do. 
Your grandfather can change the will--it is his will--but if he makes changes when he has dementia, they could potentially be challenged (such as by an heir who was going to receive more under the original version of the will) on the grounds of lack of mental capacity, since only a person who is mentally competent can make or change a will. Such a challenge would have to be made after he is dead--a will has no effect until death and so any challenge to it pre-death would be moot; and also, you have no right to see a person's will while he is alive--and would require medical testimony (e.g. from a doctor who had been treating him at the time) and other credible evidence to show that he was mentally incompetent when he changed the will.


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