I would say that a "Will Reading" is rarely done anymore. Why? Because in the old days most assets did "pass through" the Will. However, today attorneys use Living Trusts and other devices to avoid probate (which is where a Will takes things).
With that said, if family members are "antsy" then it might be a good idea for a sit down with the attorney handling things so that the process can be explained and questions answered.
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I agree with Attorney Smolinski. While I HAVE had Will readings, they are the exception rather than the rule. And there is no requirement that you have a reading of the Will, in any state that I am aware of. It is not a bad idea to have a Will reading, however. It is an excellent way for beneficiaries to find out what to expect about the probate proceedings and to communicate any concerns they may have. Open communication during probate is one of the best ways to avoid problems with the estate. If a Will reading can head off potential problems, then it is well worth the nominal charge for the attorney fee.
*** LEGAL DISCLAIMER I am licensed to practice law in the State of Michigan and have offices in Wayne and Ingham Counties. My practice is focused in the areas of estate planning and probate administration. I am ethically required to state that the above answer does not create an attorney/client relationship. These responses should be considered general legal education and are intended to provide general information about the question asked. Frequently, the question does not include important facts that, if known, could significantly change the answer. Information provided on this site should not be used as a substitute for competent legal advice from a licensed attorney that practices in your state. The law changes frequently and varies from state to state. If I refer to your state's laws, you should not rely on what I say; I just did a quick Internet search and found something that looked relevant that I hoped you would find helpful. You should verify and confirm any information provided with an attorney licensed in your state.
I disagree with the assertion that property does not pass through probate any more. While it is correct that in states where probate laws have not been reformed it may be better to avoid probate, many states have reformed their probate laws and procedures to such an extent that avoidance of probate is not necessary.
That being said, I have never had a formal reading of the Will. This may be because of higher literacy rates and the advent of copiers, which permit beneficiaries to receive their own copy to peruse. Additionally, many simple wills are written in language which is clear enought that a lay person can read and understand the important provisions which spell out who gets what.
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