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Can I Read a Copy of a Person’s Last Will & Testament as a Public Record through the Courts?

A Last Will & Testament can become a public record in some cases — but only if or when it is submitted to a Probate Court upon the death of the person making the Will.

Until that time, a Will is NOT public record — it is private. And even after it is filed for Probate, some states have significant restrictions on access to these documents as public records.

Most probate courts do have some restrictions on access to filed documents, for privacy reasons. But the fact that the documents are filed with a public body (the probate court) does permit third parties to utilize court procedures to gain access to the documents so filed.

Each state (and sometimes each Probate Court) has different requirements to access filed documents. You must check state laws and with the Probate Court where your interest lies to determine those requirements.

To create a valid Will, see Standard Legal’s Last Will and Testament legal forms software page.

Last Will and Testament Questions  ·  March 31st, 2009

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