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Attorney won't give me copy of last will and trust

My mother is now close to 79 years old and has a fairly large estate. My sister claims my mother changed her will because she doesn't like the way I have "been living." So I called my mother's long time attorney and asked him for a copy of the last will and he said no. If I'm an heir to my mother's estate, and I think I still am, shouldn't I be able to get a copy of the will or of her trust for that matter? I believe there may be a trust involved also. If my sister is talking my mother into changing her estate planning documents I feel like I should be able to see what is going on. What is the law in Massachusetts on this?

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Assuming that the trust you suspect exists is an estate planning tool, and not a currently funded trust in which you are named as a beneficiary, you do not have a right to see either of the documents, the will or the trust.  These documents belong to your mother, and, unless your mother approves, the attorney is not entitled to release them to you.

After your mother dies, the attorney will be obligated by Massachusetts law to deliver the will to the Probate Court.  At that point, the last will and testament is a public document that you can look at.

Similarly, if your mother's will funds a trust that names you as a beneficiary, then you will be able to see the document.  Massachusetts law allows beneficiaries to obtain a copy of the trust and entitles the beneficiaries to certain other protections, including the right to see an inventory and an accounting for the trust. 

Finally, if you believe your sister has improperly influenced your mother to change her will, that is a separate issue which you should discuss with a probate attorney. Hope that helps.


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