This is a common question that is asked. People want to know when they would be notified that they are included in a will. While it is not uncommon for a testator to let family members know if they are included in a will, whether to receive personal property, money or real property, generally there is a certain point when beneficiaries must be notified if they are included in a Will.
When a will is offered for probate, that is, to be deemed a valid Will by the Surrogate’s Court, the law mandates that certain parties must be notified. If someone is next of kin (spouse, child, sibling), regardless of whether they are mentioned in the will as receiving a share of the estate, they must be notified. In the case of next of kin, they must either sign a Waiver and Consent allowing the Will to be deemed valid and consent to the jurisdiction of the Court or must be cited to appear in court to show cause why the will should not be valid. They would be then be given time to file objections to the probate of the Will.
If someone is a beneficiary under a Will, and they are not an interested party by virtue of being next of kin of the Testator (the person who executed the Will), they will receive a Notice of Probate along with a copy of the Will. This notice is sent when the petition for probate is submitted to the Surrogate’s Court. Those only entitled to Notice of Probate do not have standing to contest probate of the Will, but they must be notified if they are receiving a share of the estate under the Will.