Fans of old movies will doubtless recall numerous scenes in which the lawyer reads aloud the Will of a recently deceased person. In reality, this is simply a dramatic device used in films but absent in real life.

Under Idaho law, a Will must be formally admitted to probate by the filing of a Petition in the District Court in the district where the deceased person resided. A notice of the filing, including the probate case number, must be sent to the heirs and certain relatives of the deceased person. This information will enable the heirs and family members to examine the court file to examine the Will and any other papers filed in the probate case. These family members will then decide whether to accept the provisions of the Will or to retain an attorney to file a formal Will contest, declaring the Will invalid for one reason or another.

Idaho’s requirement of written notice to heirs and relatives ensures that all interested persons are informed about the probate process. Although lacking the drama of a ‘reading of the Will,’ this process is more efficient, especially for relatives living at great distance.