Do we need to do a ‘Reading of the Will’?
You often see in movies or television shows a ‘reading of the Will’ after someone has died. In reality, there is no official requirement for the Will to be read out to the family or beneficiaries, but it can be particularly helpful to have a family meeting where the executor and key beneficiaries meet to read over the Will, receive an explanation of the terms of the Will and also discuss plans or strategies to progress the estate administration.
In any event, whether a ‘Reading of the Will’ is arranged or not, beneficiaries and certain other interested persons (such as persons eligible to make an estate claim or who are mentioned in a previous Will) may be allowed to have a copy of the Will.
The advantages of being on the same page
We call this meeting a ‘Reading of the Will Family Conference’ and it can really assist family members and other beneficiaries to quickly understand the terms of the Will, resolve any misunderstandings at the outset and to ensure that beneficiaries are aware of the avenues available to them, particularly where the Will includes options for how they take their inheritance, such as by way of a testamentary discretionary trust or at a certain age. Beneficiaries can then obtain their own independent advice before making any final decisions required of them.
Beneficiaries also have a chance to communicate their preferences for whether an asset is sold or transferred to them, and if there is a choice, which assets they would prefer.
Arrange a Reading of the Will Family Conference
At Estate First Lawyers, we have successfully conducted many ‘Reading of the Will’ family conferences and both executors and beneficiaries alike have found the sessions helpful and empowering. Please contact us if you would like more information on this service or any one of our other services.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is there a ‘reading of the Will’ when someone dies?
There is no legal requirement or any necessity to conduct a formal ‘reading of the Will’ when someone dies. However, as an executor, it is important to understand the terms of the Will you are administering, and it is also beneficial that any beneficiaries understand their entitlements and the options available to them under the terms of the Will.
Therefore a ‘Reading of the Will’ family conference with your estate lawyer may be beneficial in ironing out early on any misunderstandings and discussing strategies for the estate administration.
Can I obtain a copy of a Will of a deceased person?
Certain people (for example close family members, people named in the Will or a previous Will) are entitled to receive a copy of an original Will from the person who is holding the original Will, provided they pay the reasonable costs of arranging the copy.
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