The Reading of the Will: Who needs to meet with the Attorney

The reading of a will is a concept often dramatized in movies and television, but in reality, the process is typically more private and less formal. When it comes to discussing the contents of a will after someone has passed away, the key parties who might need to meet with a lawyer, specifically the executor and possibly the beneficiaries, have distinct roles:

Executor of the Estate: The executor (also known as a personal representative in some jurisdictions) is the individual appointed in the will to manage the deceased’s estate. This person has the primary responsibility of meeting with the lawyer to understand the will’s provisions, the estate’s assets and debts, and the legal process for probate (if necessary). The executor is responsible for carrying out the instructions in the will, paying off debts, and distributing the assets to the beneficiaries as directed.

Beneficiaries: While beneficiaries might not need to meet with the lawyer immediately or collectively, they may have individual meetings if they have questions or concerns about the will’s terms, their inheritance, or the overall process. Beneficiaries typically are informed about the contents of the will and their inheritance by the executor, rather than through a formal reading.

Trustees: If the deceased’s estate plan includes trusts, the trustees appointed to manage these trusts might also need to meet with the lawyer. They need to understand their duties and the specifics of managing and distributing the trust assets according to the deceased’s wishes.

Immediate Family Members: In some cases, immediate family members who might not be named as executors or beneficiaries could also seek legal advice to understand their rights, especially if they were dependent on the deceased or believe they have a claim against the estate.

Persons with a Claim against the Estate: Anyone who believes they have a rightful claim to the estate, such as creditors or individuals who were promised something verbally by the deceased, might also consult a lawyer to understand their legal standing.

The process and the parties involved can vary significantly depending on the complexity of the estate, the clarity of the will, and family dynamics. Generally, the executor plays the central role in consulting with the lawyer and managing the estate in accordance with the will’s instructions and applicable laws.

Navigating the complexities of estate management and probate can be challenging and emotionally taxing, especially during a time of loss. If you’re an executor, beneficiary, or have any concerns regarding a will or estate, reach out to our experienced estate planning attorneys for guidance and support. Call Eastham Law Offices at 561-395-6800 or fill out our contact form and we will be in touch to schedule an appointment.