For a fictional story. The man is missing (6 months) presumed to be dead. Has a request that the Will not be probated for 9 months if he is ever missing. Detective looking for a motive. The city is not real although it is located in Ohio.
I do not believe that the unusual instruction of this fictional testator would be honored as a matter of public policy. It would take some interesting research to try and find caselaw precedent ... although I doubt anyone has ever put such a provision in his or her Will. I could see half the judges interpreting this one way, and half the other.
Your novel might be interesting, but this element of the story is a stretch.
Where is the request? In the Will? In a separate writing?
it is not proper to withhold a Will from probate. However, unless there are probate assets or unless there is some other reason to open a probate Estate (a civil wrongful death suit), then there is no need to probate the Will until that situation changes.
What motive would be revealed by the Will? If Detective thinks a beneficiairy had inheritance as a motive, then Detective just needs to wait and see if the Will is probated. Then its contents will be public record.
I agree that the 9 month waiting period is likely unenforeceable.
If this fictional lawyer prepared the Will and his client asked him not to disclose it, I would be reluctant to divulge the Will absent proof that the client is dead as the attorney client privilege may apply if the client is living. A lawyer can not disclose matters unless he has authorization from the client. This is a question that does not come up frequently. Accordingly, I recommend you hire a lawyer to legal research your question.
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