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Many movies and television shows have a scene where a family gathers around a big table after a relative has died to listen to the reading of the will. While this makes for a dramatic scene, one that may have been more common when literacy rates were lower, it doesn’t usually happen this way in the modern world. There is no requirement that a will be read out loud to anyone. So what does happen with the will?

Once the will is located, it should be given to the estate’s attorney. Instead of reading the will out loud, the estate’s attorney sends copies of the will to anyone who may have an interest in it. Obviously the person who is named as executor or personal representative is entitled to a copy of the will. He or she is in charge of applying for probate, managing the decedent’s property, and making sure the instructions in the will get carried out. (For more information on an executor’s duties, click here.)