If I was named in a Will but not given a copy of it by my sibling who has a copy, what are my rights?

UPDATED: Oct 1, 2022

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If I was named in a Will but not given a copy of it by my sibling who has a copy, what are my rights?

My sister is the executor.

Asked on February 3, 2018 under Estate Planning, New York


M.D., Member, California and New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

You can check if the Will has been admitted to probate. If so, it is now a matter of public record so you (or anyone else) has a right to see it. If for some reason it has not yet been probated, then since you are a child of the deceased, you can still get a copy of the Will because under the law you are an "interested party". This is someone who would have inherited if there had there been no Will (pursuant to something known as "intestate succession"). Consequently, since whether or not a Will exists affects your rights, you have a stake or "standing" in the matter. Accordingly, this stake gives you the right to bring a legal action to view the Will. However, you should note, that you may not even be named in thec Will. The fact is that a parent an disinherit a child. Additionally, certain assets pass outside of an estate to the named benenficiares. For example, proceeds from  IRA's, some pension benefits, 401's, etc. 

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 AttorneyPages.com 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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