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Do I need to provide a copy of my brother's will to his son before it's filed with the state? I am the executor.

Clay, NY |

My brother left his entire estate to me and made no mention of his son & daughter's name in his will. (they are both over 30) I am being pressured by my brother's son about his will. His son was also somewhat estranged from his father.

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Attorney answers 4


If you are the executor of an estate you should seek legal representation, especially if you are already having issues. To answer your question (I am not a NY attorney) every state I know of requires that notice of the probate of the will be given to BENEFICIARIES and HEIRS AT LAW (assuming no spouse the kids would be heirs at law). In any event, once you probate the will it will be public record and he can obtain a copy of it so there is probably no reason not to give him a copy but I would seek a NY attorney (assuming a NY estate) for advice.

This is not legal advice nor intended to create an attorney-client relationship. The information provided here is informational in nature only. This attorney may not be licensed in the jurisdiction which you have a question about so the answer could be only general in nature. Visit Steve Zelinger's website:


Well, it really shouldn't be a problem to you if you give him a copy. The original is normally filed with the court and, once filed, anyone can get a copy.

With that said, if you anticipate a problem, you should consult with a local probate attorney for advice that is specific to your situation. Best wishes!

Legal Disclaimer: Paul A. Smolinski is licensed to practice law in the State of Illinois only, and as such, his answers to AVVO inquiries are based on his understanding of Illinois law only. His answers are for general information about perceived legal issues within this question only and no response to any posted inquiry should be deemed to extend any right of confidentiality between you and Mr. Smolinski, to constitute legal advice, or create an attorney/client or other contractual relationship. An attorney/client relationship is formed only by specific agreement including an evaluation of the specific legal problem and review of all the facts and documents at issue. We try to insure the accuracy of this information, but we cannot guarantee its accuracy. The reader should never assume that this information applies to his or her specific situation or constitutes legal advice. Therefore, please consult competent counsel that practices in the subject area in your jurisdiction and who is familiar with your specific facts and all of the circumstances.


If you are the executor and you have the original copy of the Will you have a duty to lodge it with the court. There is generally a penalty if you fail to file it. Whether a formal probate is opened is another matter and depends upon the size of the estate, but the potential penalty is still there. One of the purposes of probate is to prove that the document that is filed with the court is in fact the LAST Will and Testament and not just the next to the last Will and Testament. When it is filed the law usually requires that a copy be sent out to those who would inherit if there is no Will so they can challenge it.


Since you are the executor and hold the original will you must file it with the court-however you should hire an attorney to help you do so. New York Probate court can be somewhat complicated and you should not try to navigate it without professional legal advice.

Is there anything else I can help you with? Thank you very much for having allowed me to assist you. These responses don't create an attorney client relationship.

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