My parents won’t give me copies of their wills

Ask NJMoneyHelp

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Q. My parents say I’m the executor of their wills, but they refuse to give me a copy. I don’t want to be nosy but I’m worried about what happens when they die if I don’t have a copy. How can I convince them?
— Concerned

A. It’s good of you to want to be prepared to help your parents when they die, but you’ll need to take a step back – especially if they don’t want you in their business.

There is no inherent or legal right to review or receive a copy of your parent’s will while they’re alive, said Matthew Rheingold, an attorney with Einhorn Harris in Denville.

He said your parents could change their will at any time by writing a new will or drafting a codicil – like an amendment – which would change the provisions of the will.

“While your parents are alive you should discuss where your parents’ wills are located so that it may be obtained without delay,” Rheingold said. “You should also find out information about the drafting attorney since many testators will often leave their original last will and testament with their attorney.”

“This ensures that the document is kept safe and preserved,” he said.

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