After a loved one passes away, it is common for close family members to want to see a copy of the will.
Unfortunately, sometimes the executor may refuse to provide it.
That can feel very frustrating.
You may want to know what your loved one’s wishes are, and you may want to verify that the executor is following those wishes.
But without seeing the will, you can’t do any of that.
In this article, we’re going to discuss some potential solutions to that situation.
My name is Erik Broel & I am the founder & CEO of Georgia Probate Law Group.
At our firm we help families who have lost a loved one navigate the complex and confusing legal process so they can make sure the estate is handled properly and their loved one’s memory is honored.
Does The Executor Have To Show You The Will?
If you are an heir or beneficiary but the executor is still refusing to give you a copy of the will, what can you do?
Is The Estate Open?
First, identify what part of the process the estate is in.
If the estate has been opened, then the will will be on file with the probate court. You can obtain a copy from the court directly.
If the estate is not yet open, that is a more complicated – and more concerning – type of situation.
If the executor files to open the estate, then you should receive a copy of the will in the mail, unless you sign a form saying you waive formal notice.
If you haven’t seen the will, don’t sign that form.
What If The Executor Refuses To Show You The Will?
If the executor is saying they will not open the estate in probate court and will not give you a copy of the will, that is a major red flag.
Under Georgia law, the person identified as executor in the will does not have any power to manage the estate until the estate has been opened with the probate court.
Unfortunately, we often see estate assets go missing in these cases.
If you are in this situation, I would urge you to call our office right away.
Everything discussed in this article is for general information and is not legal advice.
If you are in a situation where you feel like the executor is intentionally delaying the settling of the estate, or refusing to show you the will, I recommend you reach out to our office at (770) 920-6030 to set up a consultation.
If you’re not quite ready for a consultation, be sure to download our Georgia Probate Handbook so you know how the estate is supposed to be handled.