Is it a requirement that a beneficiary be notified of the reading of the Will?

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Is it a requirement that a beneficiary be notified of the reading of the Will?

My mother died and I am a beneficiary in the Will. I was not notified of the reading of the Will. My brother is the executor and we are not on speaking terms. Is it a legal requirement to notify beneficiaries of the reading?

Asked on August 19, 2011 Rhode Island

Answers:

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

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

The family gathering to hear the Will read is more often the stuff for movies than for real life.  In fact probate procedures do not require it.  However a beneficiary has the right to view any Will under which they have received a gift.  In fact, by law the executor must  notify them of their gift. 

In fact, even someone who is not mentioned in the Will can view it. It becomes a matter of public record as soon as it is filed with the appropriate probate court. At that point it can be seen by anyone.   

If you think that your bother, in his capacity as executor, is not being forthcoming about estate matters and handling things in the best interests of the estate/beneficiaries, you can report this to the probate.  Appropriate action (including the possibility of removal as executor) can be taken.


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