You are preparing your Estate Planning including a Last Will and Testament. You are putting various information in your Last Will and Testament that is sensitive, such as disinheriting a family member. Or you are leaving more money or property to a specific family member than to another. You anticipate that your family will view the gifts that you have given in your Last Will and Testament as being unfair. Now your question is, who can get a copy of my Last Will and Testament?
The good news is that until you die, no one but you is entitled to have and hold your Last Will and Testament. Even your attorney would be required to give to you your original Last Will and Testament if you choose. Most attorneys keep ahold of the original Last Will and Testament so that if it is ever needed for probate purposes, it can be easily found. However, even then, your lawyer cannot distribute a copy of your Last Will and Testament to anyone without your prior approval and authority.
Things become a little bit different in Idaho after you die. When you die, leaving behind a Last Will and Testament, that document will have to be probated in order to carry out your wishes. This is required in Idaho anytime there is real property involved or if your estate is worth $100,000 or more whether or not it has any real property in it. During a probate, your original Last Will and Testament is filed with the court.
Once the probate process is begun, all immediate family members, and any designated beneficiaries, are entitled to receive a copy of the Last Will and Testament. Additionally, anyone in the public who wants to obtain a copy of your Last Will and Testament can simply go to the courthouse and pay the required fee. This is true because probate is a normal court proceeding that is open to the public and is subject to public scrutiny.
There is an additional group of people that will have an opportunity to receive a copy of your Last Will and Testament if they choose. This includes any person who is named as a personal representative, as well as any individual who is a creditor of the decedent. Additionally, if a testamentary trust is created then the trustee would receive a copy of the Last Will and Testament. Additionally if there is a guardian that is named for minor children these individuals will also receive a copy of the Last Will and Testament.
Keep in mind that while you are alive, your Last Will and Testament belongs to you, and you have the ability to give copies away to whoever you choose. This can include your accountant, your financial advisor, as well as the attorney who assisted you in drafting your last will and testament. You can also give copies away to your family members, or any other individual that you desire. Now, keep in mind that you are not required to do this, but since it is your property you have the ability to give it to whoever you choose.
So the bottom line is that while you were alive you can keep your Last Will and Testament private. However once you die all privacy related to your Last Will and Testament will be gone.
If you have any questions about your Last Will and Testament and who can receive copies of it, we can help. Call us toll free at 877-232-6101 or 208-232-6101 for a consultation with Lane Erickson and the Racine Olson team of Estate Planning attorneys in Idaho. You can also email Lane Erickson directly at email@example.com. We will answer your Idaho Estate Planning questions and will help you solve your Idaho Estate Planning problems.
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