Beneficiaries’ Rights to see Contents of a Will

As a named beneficiary in a Florida will, you have a right to a see a copy of the document. In addition, you have a right to know about all the assets and distributions resulting from the probate of the document. This right is enforceable even if you are only receiving a minor or nominal amount from the will. Thus if a decedent, who resided in Aventura, Florida prior to his death, leaves you only $5 in his will, you are still entitled to see a copy of the entire document and any of the pleadings that resulted from any litigation resulting from the probate of the will.

However, a will is an ambulatory document, meaning it is not operative until the creator of the will dies. Thus, in Florida, a person named as a beneficiary in a will is not entitled to see the contents of that will until the testator dies and the will becomes operative.

In addition, the Florida Statutes under Section 736.0813, give a similar right to all beneficiaries of an irrevocable trust. The beneficiaries of such a trust are entitled to a complete copy of the trust instrument, the right to accountings and any other rights relating to the administration of the trust. Generally, the beneficiaries of a revocable trust are not entitled to a copy of the trust document.

Florida law has strong safeguards for the protection of beneficiaries under a Florida will. Not only do you have a right to a copy of all documents, but you also should have received notifications regarding the probate of the will. If you or someone you know lives in the West Palm, Fort Lauderdale or Miami-Dade area and believe they were not properly given the right to see the contents a Florida will, the probate litigation team at Chepenik Trushin will help you obtain the proper legal relief. Please feel free to contact us for an initial first consultation.