CanI forcethe executor of my mother’s estateto read mother’s Will in front of all of her children?

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CanI forcethe executor of my mother’s estateto read mother’s Will in front of all of her children?

Mom passed away 3 months ago but her Will has not been read. We have no idea exactly what it says. I do know that her car was to me but the executor (brother) has done nothing to take care of getting it transferred into my name. I have no idea if it has insurance on it or not. We don’t know if any of my sisters were even mentioned. Can I call mom’s lawyer and get a copy?

Asked on March 11, 2011 under Estate Planning, Texas

Answers:

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

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

In most states, including TX, it has never been a popular custom to hold a formal reading of the Will;  in fact probate procedures do not require it.  The large family gathering to hear the Will read is more often the stuff for movies than for real life.  As for being able to see a copy of her Will, a beneficiary has the right to view any Will under which they have received a gift.  In fact, by law the executor must  notify them of their gift.  Additionally, if you want to see the terms of the Will it will be a matter of public record as soon as it is filed with the appropriate probate court. At that point it becomes a matter of public record and can be seen by any one, whether or not they are listed as a beneficiary in it.  What you need to do is go to the probate court in the county in which she was domiciled as of the date of her death.  For a small fee, you can request a copy of her Will. 

If you think that your bother, in his capacity as executor, is not being forthcoming about estate matters and handling things in the best interests of the estate/beneficiaries, you can contact the probate court and report this.  Appropriate action (including the possibility of removal as executor)  can be taken.


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