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Why is there no ‘reading of the will’ anymore?

In some movies or TV shows, a common scene involves family members gathering in a room where a lawyer reads the contents of a last will and testament. There are dramatic moments as heirs learn of their fortunes, disinheritance or tests they must pass to obtain their wealth. In reality, this rarely happens after someone dies and the probate process begins.

A reading of the will was the norm when not everyone could read. These days, those who have a stake in a will should receive a copy from the estate’s attorney or the executor. Those whom a testator has intentionally disinherited may also receive a copy of the will so they can challenge it before the deadline. However, anyone else who is interested in the contents of a will may inquire at the local Texas probate court since wills are a matter of public record except on rare occasions when a judge seals the will.

What if there is no will?

Unfortunately, most people do not take the time to write a will in the first place. In this case, those whom the law designates as heirs will have to wait out the probate process. This usually includes, spouses, children or parents, depending on the family makeup.

A Texas attorney or executor may call the heirs together if the will raises some confusion or if there is danger that the terms will cause conflict. However, it is usually heirs or would-be heirs who raise these conflicts. The ideal is to get through probate without drama or lawsuits, but this is not always an easy goal to reach.