Everyone knows a will is a legal document that outlines the details of a person’s final wish about who’ll inherit their assets after death. But what about the further legal process? How the beneficiaries will get notified and receive the inheritance – that’s the concerning topic.
Not everyone knows the legal ins and outs of how this process works and how long it takes after someone passes away for their will to be read as per the law. That’s why we’re here; this guide is all about what happens after someone leaves a will behind.
We’ll address important questions that will help you understand the probate process and how long after death is a will read? What happens when your name comes in the will as a beneficiary?
How Long Does The Executor Wait To Read The Will?
Before we go further, we want to clarify one important thing: there’s no such thing as an official reading of will in front of all family members. This only happens in movies and TV shows because the writer wants to show the feelings of family; that’s it.
Hence, if you’re waiting for a TV show type of reading after the funeral, it will never happen. The real-life scenario is quite different because, according to the law, the only one who can read the will is the executioner.
No one in the family is entitled to know what’s written in the will unless it becomes public. You can only know about the will if you’re beneficiary, and that is also only about what you’ll receive, not others.
How Will You Be Notified If You’re Named In A Will?
Once the person dies, the executioner reads the will and, for further process, submits it to the probate court. The probate courts are basically part of a judicial system that only deals with the issue of estate and wills.
When the will goes to court for approval, all beneficiaries will be notified legally about the content of the will. This is the time when the beneficiary can challenge the will if they think it has been corrupted or it’s not the right one.
How Long Does It Take To Receive Inheritance From A Will?
The time of probate cases depends on how complicated things are. Generally, it takes up to 12 months, at least in simple cases where the assets and debts aren’t much. However, the process will be longer if the person who passed away left multiple wills.
The probate court will check the validity of all wills and decide which one is legit and needs to be followed. Besides the multiple wills, the bigger the assets, the more time it will take, as there will be creditors, legal issues that need to be taken care of.
Also, if any beneficiary contests the will, the court process will be longer. In short, the time it takes to receive an inheritance is based on how complex the case is. You’ll get the inheritance within a year if the case is simple, and the process will be long if there are legal disputes.
Who Keeps The Original Copy of A Will?
If the person who wrote the will (testator) is alive, then the original copy will be safe with him. However, when the testator dies, the original copy of a will goes to the executioner, who is often nominated by the testator.
Anyone can be the executioner of the will: the wife, son, daughter, sister, brother or any family member. The testator can also choose someone outside the family, like a probate lawyer, friend, or anyone whom they trust.
When Can You See The Copy of The Will?
Legally, the person who can read and keeps the original will is the executioner. No one is entitled to read or get the will in the family or friends until the court validates it. The executioner will file a case in the probate course and notify the beneficiaries.
The court will check the will and decide accordingly who’s the real beneficiary. Once the case ends, the executioner will submit the will to the probate registry, and it will be available for everyone, and anyone can see or get a copy.
To sum up, there’s no such thing as “will reading,” nor should you wait for it. The entire family sitting in a living room and the lawyer reading the will is just a made-up scenario supported by all movies and TV shows.
In real life, the executioner gets the will and submits it to the probate court for validation. Afterward, you’ll receive a legal document (if you’re a beneficiary) about the court process. The court will probate the will and distribute the property to the beneficiaries.
Dustin MacFarlane’s primary focus is on Elder Law and protecting families and seniors. He is a Certified Specialist in Estate Planning, Trust, and Probate Law by the State Bar of California Board of Specialization — a rare distinction.
Prior to becoming an attorney, Mr. MacFarlane worked in the Long Term Care industry. After becoming licensed to practice law in January of 2009, Elder Law quickly became his focus. Seeing the need during his former career, Mr. MacFarlane pursued Elder Law as a primary area of practice.