Wills contain a significant amount of sensitive information. If seen by people or entities you didn’t intend to show or who weren’t receiving an inheritance, it can lead to heated conflict. However, there are legal precedents in place which limit who has access to a will.
Access to Your Will Prior to Your Death
Before you pass away, no one has access to your Will unless you give them access; it is a private document. The only way this changes is if a Texas court decides that you don’t possess the mental capacity to take care of yourself, which means that your guardian or court-appointed guardian can have access to your will.
Access After You Pass Away
After you die, the probate process starts. An application will be filed with the court to probate the will, an executor or administrator will be named, and the assets listed in the will divided amongst your heirs.
The following are the people who can access the will once you pass away depending on before and after submission into probate:
- Before the will is submitted to probate – Once you pass away, your attorney, the executor named in the will are able to see the document. Lawyers need to have access in order to advise the executors and beneficiaries on how to take the will to court. The executor is able to access the will in order to decide whether or not to accept responsibilities. In addition, beneficiaries can see the will so they know whether to accept or contest the division of assets or contest any executors or trustees named in the will.
- After the will is submitted to probate – Once the will is submitted to probate, it is considered the public record and anyone can see it.
For more information about drafting or making changes to your will, contact Dossey & Jones and request a no-obligation consultation today.