If you watched a movie where a character passed away, you may have then watched a scene where all of the friends and relatives sat in a room while a lawyer read them that person's will. Does this really happen? Is that how you find out what was left to you?
While this scene can build a lot of suspense and works well in movies, it is not all that realistic in 2018. Instead, the person in charge of the estate makes copies of the will and then mails them out to those who are named in the document. This way, those people have hard copies and they can read them whenever they want. The family members do not have to arrange their schedules to meet up for a will reading, and there's no element of surprise.
So, why is the notion of a will reading so popular? The issue is that, generations ago, a lot of people could not read or write on their own. They would have no way to know what the will actually said. This could create confusion, it could allow for fraud and it certainly meant mailing out copies of the will would not work. For this reason, people used to participate in will readings so that illiterate heirs still knew what they should get from the estate.
In modern America, where most people have at least a high school education, that is no longer necessary.
Is your family going through the estate administration process after a loved one passed away? Make sure you know all of the legal steps that you need to take.