When somebody dies, who has the right to see the will? I am thinking the executor does and all the beneficiaries do. Does a contingent beneficiary have the right to see the will? Is there anybody else who has the right to see the will?

2 Answers 2


Normally a will lodged with the Surrogate's Court is a matter of public record.

The Superior Court shall have jurisdiction to compel discovery as to the existence or whereabouts of any paper purporting to be a will of any decedent who died a resident of the county, which has not been offered for probate, and to require the paper to be lodged with the surrogate of the county for probate.

N.J. Stat. § 3B:3-29.

If a will has been registered in the New Jersey Will registry then a search of the registry in furtherance of the goal of locating a will is allowed for interested persons:

Only interested persons and their representatives may conduct a search of the registry. As used in this act, "interested persons" means children, spouses, potential heirs, devisees, fiduciaries, creditors, beneficiaries and any others having a property right in or claim against a trust estate or the estate of a decedent which may be affected by the proceeding.

N.J. Stat. § 3B:3-2.1.


This would depend on the country. In New Zealand, the executor is not legally obliged to allow beneficiaries to see the will.

Once probate has been granted then it becomes public record and anyone can apply to the High Court to view it.

From Citizens Advice Bureau

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