Will available to others? Executor follow-up?

My brother passed away a week ago. He appointed a friend as executor of his estate. I am concerned that matters are addressed as my brother wished. Could I see a copy of the will and how do I know if my brother’s intentions are being carried out? Does a court keep tabs with the executor?

Asked on June 29, 2009 under Estate Planning, Arkansas

Answers:

M.T.G., Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

I am sorry for your loss.  Although I am not admitted in Arkansas, in all States when a Will is admitted to Probate (submitted to the Court for the Executor to be appointed and the wishes of the Decedent to be carried out in accordance with the Will), the Will is on record for all to see.   You should go down to the Probate Court in the County in which your brother lived before he passed away and ask to see the Court file.  If you are a beneficiary under the Will you should receive a copy anyway and if you would have been a beneficiary if your brother had dies without a Will (Intestate) you would also get a copy. 

Yes, the Court keeps tabs on the Executor.  You, also, can keep tabs on him and can hire an attorney to bring a proceeding against the Executor if he is acting improperly. 

B. B., Member, New Jersey Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

I don't know whether you would have any standing to actually contest the executor's handling of the estate, if it came to that, and even if so, there would have to be something specific that you could point to as a reason for your concern.

You should be able to get a copy of the will, once it's probated, from the court system in your brother's last home county, for a small fee.

For more information about probate in Arizona, and what you can and cannot do about your brother's estate, based on the unique facts of your case, please talk to an attorney.  One place to find a qualified lawyer is our website, http://attorneypages.com


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