Who is entitled to see a Will when dealing with Will disputes?
When advising clients in Will dispute cases, one of the common questions that we get asked is “do I have the right to see my family member’s Will?”
When dealing with the administration of an estate when a Will has been made, the executors would normally need to obtain a grant of probate before they can deal with the deceased’s person’s assets. Once the grant has been obtained, the Will can then be obtained as a matter of public record.
You can do a probate search here to see if a grant has been obtained. If it has, you can then order a copy of the Will for a £10 fee.
Up until the grant has been obtained, the executors can decide whether or not a copy of the Will should be disclosed. In many cases, the executors will take a pragmatic view and provide a copy to requesting parties before the grant has been obtained. If the executors refuse to provide a copy, it is possible to force disclosure of the Will by issuing a subpoena from the High Court. This is a costly option and there is the obvious risk that the requesting party may not even be named as a beneficiary in the Will. Further, there is no guarantee that the costs of taking such an action will be paid from the estate.
After the Will has been disclosed, (whether voluntarily or further to a court order), a Will dispute or inheritance dispute may ensue.