Do adult children have the right to read their dads will if they aren't left anything? 21 Answers as of January 14, 2014

My husband died. Legally, do his children have the right to read his will? They weren't left anything. I don't think so, but want to be sure.

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James M. Chandler | James M. Chandler
If there is a probate filed they can request a copy of the will from the court clerk.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 1/14/2014
Law Ofices of Edwin K. Niles | Edwin K. Niles
If dad has a probate estate, it will be public knowledge anyway. I would supply copies, but it's up to you.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 1/8/2014
Goldsmith & Guymon
Goldsmith & Guymon | Dara Goldsmith
A child is entitled to see the Will. The Will should be lodged with the clerk of the court so you can order one if the spouse does not appear willing to give you a copy. An adult child is not entitled to inherit.
Answer Applies to: Nevada
Replied: 1/8/2014
O'Keefe Legal Services, L.L.C.
O'Keefe Legal Services, L.L.C. | Sean P. O'Keefe
In Maryland, yes, because one's will is a public record when it admitted for administration ("probated"), so anyone can read the will at that time.
Answer Applies to: Maryland
Replied: 1/8/2014
Kokish & Goldmanis, P.C.
Kokish & Goldmanis, P.C. | Bernard H. Greenberg
Yes, they are entitled to see the Will.
Answer Applies to: Colorado
Replied: 1/8/2014
    Kirby G. Moss PC | Kirby G. Moss
    I would allow them to see it as it could head further problems off before they are a problem.
    Answer Applies to: Indiana
    Replied: 1/8/2014
    Law Office of Pamela Braynon | Pamela Y. Braynon
    As heirs to the decedent, they should receive a copy of the will. during the probate process. If an is estate is opened in probate court, the attorney handling the estate will know what and how to proceed.
    Answer Applies to: Florida
    Replied: 1/8/2014
    James Law Group
    James Law Group | Christine James
    They have the right to read it and you have an obligation to lodge the original with the county court clerk where he died within 30 days of his death.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 1/8/2014
    Peters Law, PLLC
    Peters Law, PLLC | Mark T. Peters, Sr.
    They will be able to read it when you open the probate estate and file the will to do so.
    Answer Applies to: Idaho
    Replied: 1/8/2014
    Richard J. Keyes Attorney at Law | Richard J. Keyes
    In Missouri, the will is a public document if filed with the probate court. However, the question is whether there are any assets in your husband's name that have to be probated. Most couples have everything in joint names so upon the first to die, there is no probate. I believe the children are more interested in finding out if they are getting any of his assets upon his death. There are other ways in Missouri for assets to be passed on without going through probate, including beneficiary deeds, jointly held assets, payable on death and transfer on death. If the children are not getting any assets through any non-probate asset transfer and there are no assets to be probated, be up front with his children and tell them they are not getting anything.
    Answer Applies to: Missouri
    Replied: 1/8/2014
    The simple answer is Yes, they have the right to read the Will. In fact, if you are going to probate the Will in Michigan, the children, as heirs of their father, must receive a copy of your Petition for Probate along with a copy of the Will. If the children are not mentioned in the Will, the law presumes that they were unintentionally left out and would have the right to receive their statutory share.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 1/8/2014
    Musilli Brennan Associates PLLC
    Musilli Brennan Associates PLLC | John F Brennan
    See an attorney if they are not your children as well.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 1/8/2014
    Ashcraft & Ashcraft, Ltd.
    Ashcraft & Ashcraft, Ltd. | Randall C. Romei
    Illinois statute requires that a will be filed with the clerk of the circuit court for the county of residence for the decedent. Once filed it is on the public record and can be viewed by anyone. Failure to file is a felony. If no will is filed a descendant, as an interested person, can open an estate seek appointment as the representative and thus begin to investigate the estate.
    Answer Applies to: Illinois
    Replied: 1/8/2014
    Minor, Bandonis and Haggerty, P.C.
    Minor, Bandonis and Haggerty, P.C. | Brian Haggerty
    The will doesn't do anything at all until it is submitted to the court for probate. At that point, anybody can read the will. If you believe the will is valid, why shouldn't everybody in the whole world have the right to read it? If you don't let his children read it, why should they ever believe that they were left nothing? Not showing the will to everybody is exactly like the innocent man who runs from the cops the whole world will ask, "why did you run?".
    Answer Applies to: Oregon
    Replied: 1/8/2014
    Edward L. Armstrong, P.C. | Edward L. Armstrong
    You don't really give me enough information to answer your questions completely. Was an estate opened and his will presented for probate? If the answer is yes, that an estate WAS opened and the will admitted to probate, that will is then a public document and anyone may have access to it.
    Answer Applies to: Missouri
    Replied: 1/8/2014
    Frederick & Frederick PLC | James P Frederick
    Tricky question. What is SUPPOSED to happen is the Will gets filed with the probate court in your county. This is supposed to happen whether a probate estate needs to be opened or not. Once filed, it is part of the public record and the kids could presumably see it. If probate IS necessary, then they are absolutely entitled to see the Will. Your summary is not clear on this issue. If there are assets in your husband's name alone, with no beneficiaries named, then some form of probate may be needed. What is the concern with them seeing the Will? If it will make things easier for you, why not simply show it to them? It could make potential problems go away, if the Will says everything goes to you, anyway. Otherwise, it makes it *look* like you have something to hide, even if that is not the case.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 1/8/2014
    Attorney At Law | James G. Maguire
    They have no legal right to see the will. If it is probated in court, it becomes a public record, and they can see it then.
    Answer Applies to: Louisiana
    Replied: 1/8/2014
    Sebby Law Office
    Sebby Law Office | Jayne Sebby
    If the will is filed in probate, it is a public document that anyone can access. Beyond that, I can't think of any legitimate reason not to allow children to read a deceased parent's will, whether they are bequeathed anything or not. I can easily imagine the multitude of problems that are going to arise if you try to keep it from them.
    Answer Applies to: Nebraska
    Replied: 1/8/2014
    David Kass | David Kass
    To my knowledge there is no legal right mandating a child be furnished a copy of a parent's will. That being said there are practical reasons why a parent would choose to give a child voluntarily a copy of his/her will. These practical considerations are both legal and familial. If you need or want to know in more detail you need to schedule a consultation.
    Answer Applies to: New York
    Replied: 1/8/2014
    Reger Rizzo & Darnall LLP | Kathleen DeLacy
    Normally a Will is on file at the Register of Wills so anyone can read it. No one has a right to inherit from anyone, though.
    Answer Applies to: Delaware
    Replied: 1/8/2014
    Law Offices of George H. Shers | George H. Shers
    Anyone can file to have the estate probated and the person holding the Will must then file it with the court for public view. To avoid needless arguments, why not just give them a copy of the Will?
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 1/8/2014
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