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Do you need to go to a will reading?

On Behalf of | Apr 30, 2024 | Will |

In the past, people would find out what they were inheriting at a will reading. This is often used for dramatic effect in movies and television shows. For instance, someone may be surprised to find out that they have inherited the family business or outraged to discover at the will reading that they have been disinherited.

This may work well in fiction because of the drama that it creates, but it is a historical relic. Will readings only happened because the majority of Americans used to be illiterate. Literacy rates are still not as good as they could be across the country, but the majority of people can read and can simply read the will for themselves. They don’t need to have someone else tell them what they’re going to receive.

When do they get those assets?

Asset division is not instantaneous. The first person to read the will and distribute copies of it to you and other beneficiaries is the estate executor. They have to take an inventory of the assets that the estate owes and pay off outstanding debts. They will then distribute those assets in accordance with the estate plan, but it could be days or weeks before they get to it.

During this time, the executor and the beneficiaries can certainly have conversations about what they expected in the will. Perhaps the instructions are incomplete, so the beneficiaries have to make some decisions on their own. Perhaps there are estate disputes that need to be resolved.

All of this can still happen, even without a will reading. Just be sure that you understand your legal options if you and your family are going through this process this year.