If a loved one dies in Pennsylvania, you might be interested in seeing their will. Certain people receive a copy of the will shortly after the individual’s death. You might be able to see the will for yourself even if you’re not an immediate family member.
Who has the right to see a will?
Technically, anyone can see a will after it’s been filed. Most wills become public record, meaning they can be accessed by everyone from family members to complete strangers. In rare cases, the beneficiaries might ask the judge not to release the will to protect the family’s privacy. This is typically the case for criminals and celebrities.
Certain people are also entitled to receive a copy of the will. This includes the executor of the will as well as beneficiaries and anyone else named in the will. Heirs and prior beneficiaries are also entitled to a copy of the will. The IRS and the estate’s accountant will receive a copy of the estate for tax purposes.
If you believe that your loved one was pressured or influenced during the estate planning process, you’ll need a copy of the will so that you can contest the will in court. You might be particularly interested in contesting the will if you were mentioned in a previous version of the will but written out of the current version. Interested parties could include heirs who would have received part of the estate if the individual hadn’t deliberately written them out of the will.
How can you deal with will disputes?
Since the person who wrote the original will is gone, will contests and disputes can be hard to prove. Depending on the situation, you might have to prove that the will was altered or tampered with. You might also have to prove that the executor of the will isn’t acting in the estate’s best interests.
Whatever the case, you may need an attorney on your side to help you fulfill your loved one’s final wishes. If your will contest is successful, the judge might use a prior version of the will to award your share of the inheritance.