Is a Will a Public Document?
When it comes to contesting wills, one of the main concerns friends and family members of a testator may have is wondering whether or not they are able to access a will. Is a will a public document or will you need to be named in the will in order to access it? We take a look at when a will is a public document and how you can contest a will with the help of Will Claim Solicitors.
Is a will publicly available before death?
Some people wish to see a will before the testator has passed away, in order to understand whether they are named in the will or not. Beneficiaries are not always aware that they have been named in a will, and in some complex family situations, some relatives or friends may be left out of a will that they believe they should benefit from. However, before the testator has passed away, a will is considered a private document and is not easily accessible by the public. No one except the testator is entitled to the will at this stage.
Is a will a public document after death?
After the testator of a will has passed away, initially, the will remains a private document. This is the case until probate is granted by the executors of the will, at which point the will is registered with the Probate Registry. If you have concerns that the will may be invalid due to coercion or other reasons, then it’s worth trying to access a will before it is a public document with the help of a solicitor.
The status of a will after probate
After probate the status of the will can change. At this stage, the will becomes a public document and anyone will be able to access it. It’s possible to apply to be sent a copy of the will online or by post, and because the will is technically in the public domain, this availability is not strictly limited to friends, family members, or other connected parties, though you will need to pay a fee to obtain a copy. While it’s more challenging to contest a will after probate, it’s still possible if this is the only time that you are able to obtain a copy of the will.
How Will Claim Solicitors can help
If you find yourself in a situation that makes you ask “is a will a public document?”, then get in touch with Will Claim Solicitors. We are experts in will disputes and we can help you to understand whether you have a valid claim as well as explain how we can handle your dispute for you – usually on a no win no fee basis. Get in touch to arrange a free claim assessment, as well as support with tracing a will in England and Wales.