Can I send a copy of the will to my brother before filing a petition for probate?

UPDATED: Sep 30, 2022

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Can I send a copy of the will to my brother before filing a petition for probate?

My father died a few weeks ago and my brother is pushing to see the will. He
lives in texas but my dad lived in NY. Originally he was executor of the will but
my father changed it in 2012 and made me executor because I lived with him and
took care of him.

Asked on February 18, 2017 under Estate Planning, New York


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 5 years ago | Contributor

Yes, you can send a copy of the will to your brother before filing a petition. A will is not a confidential document in the sense of, say, certain health information; there is no law preventing an executor from sharing it with any "interested party," like another family member (i.e. with anyone who has a legitimate interest in seeing it)--or indeed, with anyone with whom the executor believes it would be beneficial to share the will. (Remember: once it is filed, it becomes public court document anyway.)

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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