Fairfax, VA asked in Criminal Law and Estate Planning for Maryland

Q: When does the beneficiary receive a copy of the Will?

Executor is one of the 3 benificary. 2 siblings have seen the Will only telling the third that the house is listed to be divided equally. 3rd has not seen the Will. Has asked for a copy & is ignored. The individual passed away 12/14/2019. What happens when a house is involved in an inheritance of 3 siblings?

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2 Lawyer Answers
Nina Whitehurst
Nina Whitehurst
PREMIUM
Answered
  • Estate Planning Lawyer
  • Crossville, TN

A: After the probate case is opened to probate the will, the will becomes a public document. You can go to the court yourself and obtain a copy or send a paralegal or even a friend to obtain a copy for you.

Cedulie Renee Laumann
Cedulie Renee Laumann
Answered
  • Estate Planning Lawyer
  • Crownsville, MD
  • Licensed in Maryland

A: As another attorney noted, a Will is a matter of public record once an estate is opened. Additionally, once an estate is opened notice is specifically sent to all interested persons in the estate. The law does not set an exact time to open an estate after someone dies, but a personal representative has an obligation to open the estate reasonably promptly. It is not uncommon for this to take several weeks or more after the decedent dies as the immediate time may be consumed with funeral arrangements and such. If for whatever reason the Personal Representative named in the Will refuses to open the estate after a reasonable period of time, any of the interested persons can petition to be appointed instead.

To the question "what happens when a house is involved in an inheritance of 3 siblings," it depends on the circumstances. In many cases a house will be marketed and sold, with proceeds first going to pay estate obligations, then the balance distributed among the beneficiaries. In some cases the property is distributed "in kind" and deeded to the beneficiaries. In other cases, one or more of the beneficiaries will buy out the others.

Note that even if a house sells immediately an estate will typically wait a minimum of 6 months before making a distribution because creditors have a time frame of up to 6 months to assert claims against the estate.

While not legal advice, I hope the above helps.

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