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Although a will is a private document, there are a number of people and interested parties who can be legally entitled to a copy of the will after the will-writer has passed away. Executors are responsible for distributing copies of the will to those who are entitled, as they are in possession of the original will. However, many executors are unsure as to who is
(and is not) entitled to a copy of the will, and it is not uncommon for them to make mistakes in distributing copies.
Before the will-writer has died, they are the only person legally entitled to a copy of their will. The will-writer can choose to keep the will confidential, but they can also give copies to anyone they would like. Even though it’s fully in the will-writer’s rights to not release any copies of the will, it’s recommended that the executor is either given a copy or knows exactly where the original will is to prevent any confusion upon the death of the will-writer. The executor will need to be in possession of the will in order to administer the estate. Once the will-writer has passed away, several different people become legally entitled to receive a copy of the will, should they request one.
After the will-writer has passed away, the executor of the will is usually the person who is given the original copy of the will, and they will be responsible for giving out copies of the will to those who are entitled.
People who are entitled to a copy of the will in BC include:
It is common for people to be unsure if they’re a beneficiary of the will following the passing of a testator. In this case, the executor must disclose if they’re a beneficiary or not.
Some additional scenarios when people might be legally entitled to receive a copy of a will include:
If you believe that you should be entitled to a copy of a will, but don’t fit into this list, you may still be able to receive a copy. If you can demonstrate to the courts that you have legally valid reason to be given a copy of the will, you can be granted entitlement to a copy.
For those entitled to a copy of the will, it can sometimes be easiest to ask a layer who is in possession of a copy of a will when trying to obtain a copy. It is common for executors to be unsure of who is entitled to a copy of a will and who is not. Estate lawyers will understand this and can provide you with a copy if you’re legally entitled.
If you believe you’re entitled to a copy of the will, but the executor is refusing to provide one, you may need to issue a subpoena to receive a copy. A subpoena forces an executor to deliver a copy of the will to you. Contact an experienced estate lawyer today to begin solving your estate-related problem sooner rather than later. We will ensure that you receive a copy of the will if you’re entitled to it.