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Who Gets Copies of the Will after a Person Dies?

Posted by Chris Peterson | Aug 03, 2015 | 0 Comments

Who Gets Copies of the Will after a Person Dies?

Who Gets Copies of the Will after a Person Dies?Wills ultimately become public record after the estate is probated. However, certain individuals need to receive copies in order for them to carry out their duties in accordance with the estate and probate court. If you are in possession of the will, your Bryan probate attorney will help you distribute copies to all relevant individuals.

The Accountant for the Estate

The estate accountant must have a copy of the will in order to carry out his duties. His function is to determine any debts and taxes that must be paid from the estate and do so. He also needs to allocate funds between income flowing into the estate and the principal. He will ultimately need to give an accounting to the probate court and beneficiaries. Finally, the accountant determines powers that the personal representative possesses in settling/compromising any disputes related to the estate.

The Testator's Personal Representative

This individual, also referred to as the executor, bears sole responsibility for the settling of the estate. As such, it is most crucial that he has a copy of the will in order for him to review the document and determine:

  • The beneficiaries
  • Special instructions and restrictions as per the will
  • The powers he will have in settling the estate
  • Compensation he will receive
  • Fiduciary responsibilities he bears

The Successor Trustee

In some cases a testator has established a revocable living trust that has a remaining balance after his death. When this occurs a successor trustee is named, and he must work together with the executor in settling the trust and probating the estate.


Each of the beneficiaries is entitled to a copy of the will. Without this they will not have a clear understanding of what they will receive/inherit, nor of the means and timing of distribution of assets.

So-called prior beneficiaries are also entitled to a copy. These are individuals who may have at one time been in the will but are now excluded. Often such individuals present challenges to the probate court to question the validity of the will. Finally, the Internal Revenue Service must receive a copy of the will, which is to be accompanied by an estate tax return.

For Help with Probating an Estate

Probate can be a long, tedious and confusing process for many. It is important that you work with a knowledgeable Bryan probate attorney who can take you through the entire process. Call Peterson Law Group today at 979-703-7014 or 936-337-4681.

About the Author

Chris Peterson

Chris Peterson is the owner of Peterson Law Group. He practices primarily in the areas of wills, trusts and estate planning; probate and trust administration; elder law; and business law. Chris is also the owner of Brazos 1031 Exchange Company.


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