If my name appears in a Will left by my grandparents, does this give me the right to see the Will?

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If my name appears in a Will left by my grandparents, does this give me the right to see the Will?

When I was 12 years-old, my grandparents passed away. At 20 years-old I went to my grandparent’s lawyer to see the Will. I was told that I couldn’t see the it without the permission of my uncle and mother. They both denied me the right to see it. It has been 10 years since and I am curious, can they hold the Will from me if my name is in it?

Asked on January 16, 2011 under Estate Planning, California

Answers:

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

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

A beneficiary has the right to view a copy of a Will under which they have received a gift.  Additionally, after so long a time since your grandparents death, the Will has been probated.  That being the case, the Will is now a matter of public record and can be seen by any one, whether or not they are listed as a beneficiary in it.  What you need to do is go to the probate court in the county in which she was domiciled as of the date of her death.  For a small fee, you can request a copy of her Will.

Note:  If the legal document in question is not a Will but a trust then the above is not applicable. Beneficiaries of irrevocable trusts may request a copy from the trustee. However, the grantor of a revocable living trust does not have to provide anybody with a copy.
 

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

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

A beneficiary has the right to view a copy of a Will under which they have received a gift.  Additionally, after so long a time since your grandparents' death, the Will has been probated.  That being the case, the Will is now a matter of public record and can be seen by any one, whether or not they are listed as a beneficiary in it.  What you need to do is go to the probate court in the county in which she was domiciled as of the date of her death.  For a small fee, you can request a copy of her Will. 

Note:  If the legal document in question is not a Will but a trust then the above is not applicable. Beneficiaries of irrevocable trusts may request a copy from the trustee. However, the grantor of a revocable living trust does not have to provide anybody with a copy.
 


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