Laws vary by country, so check to ensure what the law sets down where you are. In general, a will sets out who is to benefit from your property and possessions (your estate) after your death. It is advisable to leave a will rather than to die intestate to make things easier for others. You can with a will decide how your assets are shared - if you don't have a will, the law says who gets what; if you're an unmarried couple (whether or not it's a same-sex relationship), you can make sure your partner is provided for; if you're divorced, you can decide whether to leave anything to your former partner; and you can make sure you don't pay more Inheritance Tax than necessary. You can also name an executor, which may or may not be a member of the family, in the will too. You should review your will every five years and after any major change in your life - such as getting separated, married or divorced, having a child or moving house. Any change must be by 'codicil' (an addition, amendment or supplement to a will) or by making a new will. Usually a close relative like a spouse, child or parent will have the legal right to sort out the estate of the person who has died. If a will is left, one or more 'executors' may be named in the will to deal with the person's affairs after their death. The executor applies for a 'grant of probate' from a section of the court knows as the probate registry. The grant is a legal document which confirms that the executor has the authority to deal with the deceased person's assets (property, money and possessions). They can use it to show they have the right to access funds, sort out finances, and collect and share out the deceased person's assets as set out in the will. Wills can be contested on grounds of delusion, duress, fraud, undue influence or illness of mind or body.
Yes, once the person has died and the will has gone through probate, it then becomes public record. You can check with the state the person live in for the recorded Will. Take care.
The will is usually private to the people mentioned in the Will at the beginning - though later it is possible to get copies.