Who is Entitled to Read a Will After Death?

Who Can Read your Will?

Writing a Will is one of the most important things you can do in life as it ensures your estate is divided according to your wishes when you pass away. But who is entitled to read your Will after death? Let’s delve a little deeper.

The Executor Can Read Your Will

When writing a Will, you must choose an executor. This person will be legally responsible for following all instructions in the Will and handling your estate. For this reason, many people appoint someone they know and trust such as a close family member or friend. Be sure that the person you appoint as executor is able to handle stress well as an executor role can be quite challenging. There’s no harm in briefing them beforehand to see if they’d take on the task. You can have more than one executor if needed.

The executor(s) can read your will before the Grant of Probate. This is because they have a number of important duties to carry out quickly such as valuing your estate, notifying companies of your death and settling any outstanding tax, including Inheritance Tax. If there are complicated financial issues to navigate, executors can seek the help of professionals such as Kent tax advisors.

Who Else Can Read the Will?

The executor will usually need to apply for Probate so that they can handle the estate of the deceased legally. Until this is granted, no-one else can see the Will and any bank or solicitor storing the Will should not provide a copy to anyone without the permission of the named executor/s. Once Probate has been granted, the Will then becomes a public document meaning anyone can obtain a copy for a fee.

Sometimes Probate is not needed. An example of this would be if the deceased held property and bank accounts jointly with someone still living. In this instance, the Will would remain private and not become a public document. Contact a Kent accountant for Probate services for advice on this matter. A professional will be able to tell you if Probate is needed or not.

Usually, the executor would just show the Will to the beneficiaries and anyone not named in the Will would not be able to view it. If a beneficiary asks to see the Will and the executor refuses, they can instruct a solicitor to make a formal request.

Making a Will is important to ensure that your final wishes are carried out, and that your loved ones benefit from the estate as you see fit. Always choose the executor of your Will carefully to ensure your estate is handled well. Remember, if circumstances change you can change your Will accordingly, and this provides an opportunity to review your executor(s).

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