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‘The reading of a Will’

In TV soaps and Hollywood movies, we often see dramatic scenes of families gathered together for the reading of a Will.

In reality however, this does not happen.

On being notified of a death, the solicitor holding the Will releases a copy of the Will to the Executors, or simply takes instructions from the Executors to administer the Estate.

Individuals with an expectation of a legacy often request to see a copy of the Will and the response of the Executors must be considered carefully.  The Will becomes a public document once a Grant of Probate is made.  However, until a Grant is made, the Executors have control of which parties are provided with a copy of the Will.

If there is delay by the Executors in administering the Estate, sometimes beneficiaries can become suspicious, particularly if there has been a refusal to disclose the Will.  This situation can lead to a dispute and potential litigation.

Depending on the reason why a beneficiary wants to see a copy of the Will, there are various means of obtaining disclosure, subject to properly setting out a potential claim to the Executors – or a reason why disclosure of the Will must be given in advance of the Grant being made.

If you are an Executor with concerns about whether a Will is disclosable, or if you are a beneficiary requiring sight of a Will and would like guidance on how to proceed, feel free to contact me.

With a specialist team in inheritance disputes, we can provide the expert help you need.

Stephanie Kerr, Disputes & Litigation Solicitor