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Who can expect to receive copies of wills when loved ones die?

In many ways, real life is entirely removed from what we see on TV and in the movies. For instance, the dramatized reading of wills in the movies is purely done to create drama because no law says a will must be read with all beneficiaries present. Upon the death of a New York resident, the estate attorney must determine whom to provide with copies of the will.

The person named as executor of the will must be the first recipient because he or she will act as the personal representative of the decedent with the responsibility of settling the estate. This person must review the will to gain an understanding of the beneficiaries and the wishes of the testator. Next to receive copies will be the beneficiaries to inform them of what they will inherit along with when and how they will receive it. A parent or legal guardian will receive a copy of the will on behalf of a minor beneficiary.

In anticipation of the will being contested, the estate attorney may choose to provide copies of it to individuals who expected to be beneficiaries and to any person who was mentioned in a previous will but left out of the final will. The estate accountant will need a copy to understand how estate debts, apportionment and income taxes must be settled. If applicable, a trustee of a revocable living trust must get a copy and so must the IRS if it is a taxable estate.

The dynamics of each estate vary, and exceptions may exist. Those who have questions about wills or other estate-related issues following the death of a loved one may find the answers by consulting with a New York attorney with experience in dealing with wills, trusts and other estate planning issues. A lawyer can explain the legal process.

Source: thebalance.com, "Learn Who Gets a Copy of a Will After the Testator Dies", Julie Garber, Dec. 4, 2017

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