If I want to see a copy of my mother’s Will why she is till alive, do I have to wait until the Will goes to probate or wait until the executor, my sister, shows it to me?

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If I want to see a copy of my mother’s Will why she is till alive, do I have to wait until the Will goes to probate or wait until the executor, my sister, shows it to me?

My mother changed her Will after my father died. She took me off as executor, named my sister executor, and drastically changed the division of property. I would like to see the current Will but I do not want to ask my mother for a copy. Do I have to wait? Can the lawyer who drew up the Will for my mother give me a copy? I don’t want to make waves with my mother as to why I want to see it. I don’t know what’s in it, and the 2 sisters who are no executors would like to know how prepare for the future event. My mother is 88 years old. I would like to get a copy of it so I know what to expect ahead of time.

Asked on February 11, 2017 under Estate Planning, Washington

Answers:

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

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

A beneficiary, or potential beneficiary, as no right to view a Will prior to the testator's passing. Neither the executor or attorney has the right to let somone see it in advance. Only your mother has that right. After her passing things will be different. If you were named in the Will, then the executor will notify you of such. Further, once it is admitted for probate you could obtain a copy as it will then be a matter of public record. If, for some reason, there is a delay in entering the Will for probate after your mother's death, as someone who would inherit as an heir if there was no Will (i.e. your mother's child), you would have a right to view the Will as an "interested party".

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

No, there is, quite simply, no right to see another person's will while they are still alive--period. You mother could choose to let you see it, but is not obligated to. Her attorney is forbidden from showing it to you without permission; if the lawyer did, he would be committing an ethical violation and malpractice.


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