How can family members request viewing a Will I the executor has been withholding it from them for 5 months?

UPDATED: Oct 1, 2022

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How can family members request viewing a Will I the executor has been withholding it from them for 5 months?

My uncle passed 5 months ago and left a Will. Initially it was made only to the nieces and 2 nephews. Then, 2 years prior, when my uncle went into the hospital and was expected to pass, he shared with the immediate family what he expected with the house and car. We were told by a second cousin who once shared taking care of him that the Will had been changed 3 times. The family members were sent papers to sign indicating that once all signatures were returned the Will would be read. The last correspondence the family members received was 4 months ago. We have no idea what is going on and why it is taking so long to have the Will read. What can the family do to move forward in getting it read?

Asked on May 9, 2019 under Estate Planning, Georgia


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 3 years ago | Contributor

A beneficiary (or someone who reasonably believes they are a beneficiary of the will) can bring a legal action against the executor which is traditionally called an action "for an accounting" to, as the term implies, make the executor "account for" his/her conduct and management of the estate. If the executor is not fulfilling his duties (to follow the will; to be loyal to the beneficiaries' interests; to not put his own interests ahead of the beneficiaires; to use reasonable care and effort in doing these things), the court can order him to do certain things or replace him as an executor. 
This kind of action can be procedurally and legally complex--much more so than, say, a small claims case. Beneficiaries interested in exploring this option are advised to consult with a probate attorney.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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