Legal Myths

stuffy law offices filled with dusty books and decrepit attorneys

Myth #2 - Too many old black-and-white movies taught generations that Wills are read in stuffy law offices filled with dusty books and decrepit attorneys. At least the part about a public "reading" of the Will is incorrect, although occasionally a video of the Will signing, and a statement by the decedent to the beneficiaries is presented ("to my cousin Charlie: I never liked you so you get nothing!").

In Florida, Wills must be posted with the Clerk of Court within 10 days of the party possessing the Will learning of the decedent's death. ANYONE can read them.

As an aside, we have wondered how many of the dearly departed have been subjected to self-help suppression of Wills. Having observed many suspicious happenings, we recommend that the original Will be placed in safekeeping, such as a safe deposit box, and the family be informed as to who has access. We further suggest that copies of the Will be given to appropriate family. If the original is missing, an exact copy usually can be admitted to probate. In most states, fully executed copies are capable of being accepted for probate with a sworn statement. It is much less likely that the Will will be lost - then we can read it to the family if they wish!