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Missouri Probate – Reading of the Will

Occasionally we are asked about the “reading of a will” after a loved one has died.  While some lawyers may engage in this seemingly dramatic event, I never have, and I don’t know of anyone who does.  Insofar as I’m concerned it’s a Hollywood thing.  There is certainly nothing in Missouri Law that requires it, or even speaks to this.  From a very practical sense, the will doesn’t legally mean anything until it has been admitted into probate.  Normally before that can happen all the heirs, who are most commonly children, have seen it anyway.  After the Will has been admitted into Probate it is a public record, and anyone can go look at it for any reason, or for no reason.

Whoever has the will in their possession is required to deliver it to the Probate Court.  Normally this is done at the time of the request that it be admitted into probate.  It might, in some situations, make sense for all of the family to gather at the lawyer’s office to sign the documents to commence the probate administration, but in this day and age of instant communication, it makes little sense to force a child or other heir to wait for a formal “reading” to find out what’s going on.

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