Who is allowed to view a will after someone dies in Scotland mostly depends on which stage in the estate administration process they want to see the Will.
The administration of an estate can be broadly divided into two stages: before and after the issuance of confirmation. The court’s confirmation is a legal document that grants the executor(s) the right to collect the estate’s assets.
Who can view the will before the confirmation?
The person appointed in the will to handle the estate’s administration is known as the Executor. The Executor is the sole individual allowed to see a will before confirmation is given. However, it is best practise to make a copy of the will available to the surviving beneficiaries. Those who are entitled to a portion of the estate rather than just a lump sum or item are known as residuary beneficiaries. A copy of the estate accounts, which will include a lot of the information contained in the will, will be available to the residuary beneficiaries.
The executor must inform the spouse and children of their rights under the will even though they are not allowed to see a copy of the will before confirmation is obtained. This will allow them to determine whether they want to pursue their legal claims.
It is important to keep in mind that if the decedent or their executor chooses to have the will registered with the Registers of Scotland, it will become a public record. This means that anyone can seek a copy of the will starting at the point of registration for a nominal administrative fee.
Contested Will of a deceased person
If you don’t have access to a copy of a will and want to contest it before confirmation is granted, you’ll need a court order to get it turned over to you. You may read more about contesting a will here.
Who can view the will after the confirmation?
The will becomes public once confirmation has been obtained and it has been filed with the court for registration. This means that for a nominal administration fee, anyone can get in touch with a relevant court and ask for a copy of the will.
Some estates are exempt from the confirmation grant requirement. For instance, confirmation is often not necessary for tiny estates since the asset owners are ready to distribute small sums of money without it. If a person who is not the executor, in this case, wants to see the will, they will need to take legal action to do so. They could only do this if they had good reason to believe that the executor was failing to carry out the terms of the will and that they were entitled to compensation.
Contact us to know your Legal Rights
There are measures you can take if you want to get a copy of the deceased person’s will or want to restrict who can access your own will. We suggest contacting one of our expert Solicitors at SGT Law firm if you want to talk about these steps. You may visit our website or call us at 0141 881 8795.