It’s amazing how wrong movies, books, and television shows can get it when it comes to the law. While most of the mistakes or misconceptions people have about the law come from entertainment or rumor, they sometimes have a basis in reality.
One of these popular misconceptions is the notion that after you die your lawyer will read the terms of your Will out loud to your family, friends, or others. The reality is that this reading of the will almost never takes place, though it does have a slight basis in reality.
Centuries ago when literacy rates were much lower and it was difficult to make duplicate copies of written documents, readings of the will were probably a more common place occurrence. However, there is no state today in which a reading of the Will is a legal requirement. Though it makes for high drama in television and movies, it just doesn’t happen nowadays.
Instead, what usually happens is the estate administrator will open the estate by filing a copy of the Will with the probate court. The estate beneficiaries will then be notified that the estate has been opened and will also likely receive will copies. Also, because the will is filed with the probate court and probate court records are open to public inspection, anyone who wishes to do so can read the will at any time by going to the county courthouse and looking at it.
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