How Long Does The Executor Have To Read The Will?

How Long Does The Executor Have To Read The Will - Who Keeps The Original Copy Of A Will - How Long After A Person Dies Will Beneficiaries Be Notified

How long does the executor have to read the will?

In this article, you’ll learn about: 

  • how long after a person dies will beneficiaries be notified
  • if you’re named in a will, how you are notified 
  • how is a will executed after death
  • how long does it take to receive inheritance from will 
  • who issues an inheritance check
  • if you are named in a will, do you get a copy

Let’s dig in.

Table of Contents

The Hive Law Has Been Featured In

Get A FREE Consultation!

We run out of free consultations every month. Sign up to make sure you get your free consultation. (Free $350 value.)

How Long Does The Executor Have To Read The Will?

The executor typically has a few weeks to a few months to read the will. 

The executor typically has a reasonable amount of time to read the will after the testator’s (the person who made the will) death.

In most states, a “reasonable amount of time” for the executor to read the will and begin the probate process is considered to be within a few weeks to a few months after the testator’s death. 

There is no specific time limit mandated by law.

However, it’s advisable for the executor to start the process as soon as possible to ensure the timely distribution of assets and adherence to the testator’s wishes. 

Delays could potentially lead to legal complications or disputes among beneficiaries.

Prompt action is recommended to read and execute the will efficiently.

Read More: Do Wills Have To Be Probated

Who Keeps The Original Copy Of A Will?

The original copy of a will is typically kept by the person who made the will, known as the testator. 

It’s crucial to store the original will in a safe and secure place, such as a locked drawer, a safe deposit box, or with an estate planning attorney

It’s advisable to inform the executor or a trusted family member of the will’s location and provide instructions on how to access it upon the testator’s death. 

Keeping the original will in a secure location helps ensure that it remains intact and can be presented for probate when the testator passes away.

Read More: Does A Will Have To Be Notarized?

How Long After A Person Dies Will Beneficiaries Be Notified?

Typically, beneficiaries are informed within a few weeks to a few months after the individual’s passing. 

However, this timeline may be extended if there are complications like disputes or complex assets. 

Let’s say the executor of an estate does not notify the beneficiaries as required by law or fails to do so in a timely manner.

This can lead to legal complications and concerns. 

Beneficiaries have rights in the probate process, and the executor has a legal obligation to fulfill their duties promptly and in accordance with the law.

Here’s what beneficiaries can do if the executor doesn’t notify them:

  • Review the Will or Trust Documents: Beneficiaries should start by reviewing the will or trust documents to confirm their status as beneficiaries and understand their entitlements.
  • Contact the Executor: Beneficiaries can reach out to the executor to inquire about the status of the estate and request information about their inheritances. Communication may resolve any misunderstandings or delays.
  • Consult an Attorney: If beneficiaries believe that the executor is not fulfilling their duties or suspect foul play, they should consider consulting with an estate attorney. An attorney can provide guidance on legal remedies.
  • Petition the Court: In extreme cases, beneficiaries may need to petition the court to compel the executor to fulfill their duties. This legal action can help ensure that the estate administration proceeds appropriately.
  • Request an Accounting: Beneficiaries have the right to request an accounting of the estate’s assets and distributions. This can help ensure transparency in the process.

Read More: How To Probate A Will

Who Contacts Beneficiaries Of A Will?

The responsibility for contacting beneficiaries of a will typically falls on the executor of the will

The executor is the individual who:

  • is appointed by the deceased person (the testator) to manage their estate 
  • ensures that the wishes outlined in the will are carried out

Read More: Who Needs A Trust Instead Of A Will?

If You Are Named In A Will How Are You Notified?

When you are named in a will, you are typically notified through a formal legal process. 

The executor of the will or the person responsible for handling the deceased’s affairs will contact you directly to inform you of your inclusion in the will. 

​​The formal legal process of being notified when you are named in a will typically involves the following steps:

  • Contact by Executor: The executor of the will, who is usually named in the will itself, or the person responsible for administering the deceased person’s estate, will contact you directly. They may reach out to you via phone, email, or in writing, depending on the contact information available.
  • Notification Letter: In many cases, you will receive a formal notification letter. This letter will inform you of your inclusion in the will, the specific details of your inheritance, and any conditions or instructions related to it.
  • Reading of the Will: Some jurisdictions require a formal reading of the will, during which all beneficiaries are notified in person about their inheritance. However, this practice is becoming less common and is not legally required in many places.
  • Legal Documentation: You may be asked to sign legal documents acknowledging your receipt of the notification and your understanding of your rights and responsibilities as a beneficiary.
  • Estate Administration Process: Once you have been notified, the executor will proceed with the administration of the estate, which includes settling debts, distributing assets, and carrying out the deceased person’s wishes as outlined in the will.

Read More: What Happens If A Will Is Not Probated

How Is A Will Executed After Death?

Executing a will after someone’s death involves several key steps:

  • Locating the Will: The first step is to find the deceased person’s will. This document is often kept with important papers, in a safe, or with an attorney.
  • Naming an Executor: The will typically designates an executor, a person responsible for carrying out the deceased’s wishes. If there’s no executor named, the court may appoint one.
  • Probate: The will usually needs to go through a legal process called probate. During probate, the court verifies the will’s validity and ensures that debts and taxes are paid from the estate.
  • Notifying Beneficiaries: The executor must notify beneficiaries mentioned in the will. These are the individuals or organizations who will inherit assets.
  • Asset Valuation: The executor determines the value of the deceased person’s assets, including property, investments, and personal belongings.
  • Paying Debts and Taxes: Before distributing assets to beneficiaries, the executor must settle outstanding debts and pay any applicable taxes using the estate’s funds.
  • Asset Distribution: After debts and taxes are settled, the executor distributes the remaining assets to the beneficiaries as specified in the will.
  • Legal Documentation: The executor should keep detailed records of all transactions and decisions made during the execution process to ensure transparency and compliance with legal requirements.
  • Closing the Estate: Once all tasks are completed, the executor petitions the court to close the estate, indicating that the will has been executed according to the law.
  • Final Accountings: The court may require the executor to submit a final accounting of the estate’s assets and distributions.
  • Beneficiary Receipts: Beneficiaries acknowledge receipt of their inheritance, which can help finalize the process.
  • Legal Challenges: If there are disputes or challenges to the will’s validity, the court will address them during the probate process.

How Long Does It Take To Receive Inheritance From A Will?

Receiving an inheritance from a will typically takes several months to a year or more, depending on various factors. 

These factors include:

  • the complexity of the estate 
  • disputes among beneficiaries or creditors
  • efficiency of the legal and probate process

In general, executors of the will need time to locate and assess all assets and debts of the deceased. 

This includes property, financial accounts, and outstanding bills.

Additionally, the executor must confirm the identity of beneficiaries and any potential challenges to the will

This verification process can cause delays, especially if there are disputes.

Finally, you must also take into account creditors. 

Creditors may have a window of time (usually several months) to file claims against the estate. 

This period can extend the time it takes to distribute assets.

After all these steps are completed, the executor can distribute the assets according to the will’s instructions.

How Are Inheritance Checks Mailed?

Inheritance checks are typically mailed to the beneficiaries’ addresses on record.

If you are expecting an inheritance, the first step is to contact the executor or personal representative of the deceased person’s estate. 

They should have a record of your contact information.

They can provide you with the address they have on file for you.

Who Issues An Inheritance Check?

Inheritance checks are typically issued by the executor or personal representative of the deceased person’s estate.

Additionally, some beneficiaries may opt to receive their inheritance through means other than physical checks.

For example: electronic funds transfers or wire transfers.

FAQs About The Executor Reading The Will

These are other questions our clients ask us about the reading of the will.

Do You Have To Be Present For The Reading Of A Will?

No, you do not have to be present for the reading of a will.

The reading of a will is not a common legal practice in many jurisdictions anymore.

If You Are Named In A Will Do You Get A Copy?

Yes, if you are named as a beneficiary in a will, you are entitled to receive a copy of the will after the testator (the person who created the will) has passed away. 

As a named beneficiary, you have the legal right to access and review the contents of the will. 

The executor or the probate court will provide you with a copy of the will for your examination.

Protect Your Assets

If you want a reliable, attorney-created will and legal advice, fill out the form below.

Our experienced, Atlanta estate planning attorneys will create your living will, which means:

  • you can make sure your doctors abide by the laws
  • you have confidence you have the correct living will set up
  • you don’t have to hire a notary to show up to the signing
  • you don’t have to find witnesses to show up at the signing
  • you get FREE revisions for 30 days

Fill out the form below and we will reach out and get the ball rolling.

Talk soon.

Get A FREE Consultation!

We run out of free consultations every month. Sign up to make sure you get your free consultation. (Free $350 value.)

Share This Post With Someone Who Needs To See It