How do I get a copy of a Will in which Iwas named a beneficiary?

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How do I get a copy of a Will in which Iwas named a beneficiary?

The death of my brother occurred 16 years ago. And I was a beneficiary in his Will. It was an irrevocable trust. I myself have never seen a copy of the official documents, and think it naive of me to simply take the word of the trustee.

Asked on July 14, 2010 under Estate Planning, Arizona

Answers:

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

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

I am sorry for your loss.  Generally, once a a Last Will and Testament is filed with the Probate Court it becomes a public record for all to see.  Probates are filed in the county in which the decedent resided at the time of his or her death.  As a beneficiary under a Will you are generally supposed to receive a copy with notification of the fiduciaries intent to offer the Will for probate or with a waiver form for you to sign allowing it to be offered for probate.  Now, here is the catch.  While a Will is a public record, a trust is not. So depending on how the trust was drafted - in the Will or as a separate document - you may not be able to view it in the probate court.  But if you are a beneficiary then you have rights.  And the trustee of the trust has a fiduciary obligation to administer the trust.  So request a copy. And if he or she says no, hire a lawyer.  Good luck.


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