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Virginia Beach Estate Planning Lawyer / Blog / Estate Planning / Is My Will A Matter of Public Record?

Is My Will A Matter of Public Record?


You may recognize that creating a will is one of the best ways to document who you want to receive which assets when you pass away. A will is not required, but is strongly recommended for each adult over age 18. Your will is your chance to document your wishes surrounding your property and who may provide care for any minor children.

Without a will, chaos may be created for your family members who may believe they have claim to certain items you promise them during life, but maybe legally used to pay creditors and debts or given to other beneficiaries depending on your state’s laws. You may also be worried about the issue of privacy.

Wills contain critical details about possessions, money and property when someone passes away. When your will goes through probate, the court ordered administration process, this is a matter of public record. The probate court must receive and maintain a copy of your wills so that the public can access it. This means that whether or not someone is an heir or beneficiary, they can visit your local probate court to view the will and may get a copy by paying a fee. In some places, wills are even available online. Virginia has a library of wills.

The person known as the executor who is responsible for finding and submitting the will, satisfying debts and distributing assets to beneficiaries may potentially be responsible for submitting additional court reports or documents to manage or close out probate. If you wish to add more privacy to your estate plan, it is a better idea to work directly with a local Virginia Beach estate attorney and to leverage a trust to do so.

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