Reading of a will. Right to read the will.

UPDATED: Jun 8, 2009

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Reading of a will. Right to read the will.

Am being told that the reading of the will is being held up because of monies owed to the estate by one or more of the persons named in the will. Can I force the reading or viewing of the will regardless of the above claim. Also can a person be required to ‘pay back’ to the estate any monies claiming to be owed. The monies in question were received in good faith prior to the person dying.

Asked on June 8, 2009 under Estate Planning, Arkansas


B. B., Member, New Jersey Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 13 years ago | Contributor

I'm not an Arizona attorney, and each state's probate laws and procedures are different.  You need to speak to a lawyer in your area, for an explanation of your rights under your state's laws, and based on all of the unique facts of your case (which you can't, and shouldn't, put in a question such as the one here).  One place to find qualified attorneys is our website,

In most states, there is no legal requirement for a "reading of the will."  The will has to be filed with the court (or court official, in some states called the surrogate), and you should be able to get a copy, for a small fee.

The executor of an estate has a legal duty to recover any property that belongs in the estate, and it's often not appropriate for any payments out of the estate to heir to be made until that's done and the debts are known.  Whether the money you received from the person who passed away is yours to keep or has to be paid back depends on the circumstances.

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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