Are Massachusetts Wills Public Record?

by Maggie Lourdes
Massachusetts probate courts hold wills for safekeeping during your lifetime.

Massachusetts probate courts hold wills for safekeeping during your lifetime.

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In Massachusetts, you can choose to file your will for safekeeping in your local county probate court. During your lifetime, you are the only person who can access the will from the court's files, but you can name a person to retrieve it upon your death. When you die, if no one claims your will from the court's files, the probate court opens it up to the public following publication of your death.

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Public Access

If you leave a will when you die, a petition for probate is filed in the probate court by your personal representative, or executor. The probate process is necessary so the executor can distribute your property to your heirs. Once probate is opened, your will becomes part of the court's records. Massachusetts law allows any person to review and obtain copies of court documents, including wills that have been submitted for probate.