Is It Illegal to Copy Last Will & Testament Papers?

By Teo Spengler

As long as you have the right to use the copy machine, no penalties attach to copying your last will and testament. In fact, it may be prudent for someone making a will to provide a copy of the document to her spouse, attorney and the person she names as executor. In most cases, however, the original will, not a copy, must be filed with the court for probate.

The Purpose of a Will

A will is a legal document in which you describe how you want your property distributed at your death. You can also use the will to name a trusted person to manage your estate through the probate process and identify your choice for the guardians of your minor children.

State Requirements

The making of wills is regulated by state law, so requirements vary depending upon where you live. Some states, like California, allow unwitnessed handwritten wills, but most wills must be signed by at least two adult witnesses and/or a notary public to be valid. Will forms are available from court websites and online legal service providers.

Protect your loved ones. Start My Estate Plan

Copying Wills

It is legal to make a copy of your own last will and testament, and generally equally legal to make a copy of any last will and testament that has been provided to you without copying restrictions. While it may be wise to provide a copy of the document to key individuals, such as your attorney, think hard before handing out copies to your heirs since you can change the terms of your will at any time.

Protect your loved ones. Start My Estate Plan
What if an Executor of an Estate Destroys the Decedent's Last Will & Testament?



Related articles

How to Publish Poetry for Free and Get It Copyrighted

Poetry writing is a fun way to exercise one's creative writing skills. Poetry may be published free of charge on a person's website. Other sites offer publication of poetry books for a fee. Poetry is a type of literary work that is protected by copyright laws.

Can You Probate a Will Yourself?

The executor of a will has the main responsibility to ensure that the instructions in the will are carried out as written. To do this, the executor works with the probate court. Although all U.S. states allow an executor or personal representative to work with the probate court without an attorney, an attorney can be helpful, especially if probate is complicated or a will contest erupts.

Can Anyone See Someone's Last Will & Testament?

While a testator remains alive, her will is a private document. She shows it to whom she wishes, and others have no right to view it. It is revocable at whim. At the testator's death, however, the will executor files the document with the probate court. Once a will is filed with the court, it is a public document unless the court orders otherwise.

LegalZoom. Legal help is here. Start Here. Wills. Trusts. Attorney help. Wills & Trusts

Related articles

How to Ask the Executor for a Copy of the Will

An executor is the administrator of the estate of a deceased who is in charge of steering a last will and testament ...

How Can I Get a Copy of a Will?

TV shows often portray a lawyer reading the last will and testament to the assembled family. In real life, you usually ...

How to Copyright a Documentary

Copyright is a form of protection that is available for original works of authorship fixed in a tangible medium of ...

How to Get a Copy of a Probated Will

A copy of a probated will is useful for a variety of reasons, including family tree research, property title research, ...

Browse by category
Ready to Begin? GET STARTED