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

UPDATED: Aug 19, 2011

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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


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

Answered 11 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.

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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