When someone passes away, family members and interested parties may want to obtain a copy of the Will.

Often, someone will be told that they are not entitled to see the Will or receive a copy of the Will – even when they are legally entitled to the document. 

Today’s article clarifies who is entitled to be provided with a copy of a Will.

Uncooperative Executor!

Last week I received a phone call from a young man who was very disturbed at being told by the Executor that he would not be provided with a copy of his father’s Will.  His father had remarried, and the new wife was the Executor of his estate – after he died prematurely following an accident.

I assured the young man that he did not need to be concerned as he was entitled to be provided with a copy of the Will, and that the Executor would provide him with the document as soon as she understood what her legal obligations were.

He wasn’t convinced that she would comply with the law.  I mentioned that if it became necessary, we can file an application with the Supreme Court and let a judge explain the law to her  – and issue a costs order against her as part of the process!!

As expected, a copy of the Will was received within 48 hours!

Are you entitled to a copy of a Will?

You are entitled to see a Will if :-

  1. you are named in the Will, whether or not as a beneficiary

  2. you are mentioned in the Will, even if you are not named

  3. you are named in an earlier Will as a beneficiary

  4. you are a spouse or de facto partner (whether of the same or opposite sex)

  5. you are a parent or guardian of the deceased person

  6. you are a child of the deceased person

  7. you are a person who would have been entitled to a share of the estate had the deceased person died intestate (without a Will)

  8. you are a parent or guardian of a child (under 18 years of age) who is referred to in the Will

  9. you are a parent or guardian of a minor who would have been entitled to a share of the estate had the deceased person died intestate

  10. you are owed money by the deceased person, or you have a legal claim against the estate of the deceased person

  11. you may be eligible for an order for further provision to be made from the estate

If you are entitled to see the will, your options are to either personally inspect the Will, or receive a certified copy of the Will.  If you obtain the certified copy, you may be required “to pay the reasonable expenses” of providing the copy.

The same rules apply to a copy of the Will (if the original document was lost stolen or destroyed) and any revoked Will.

Disclaimer: The above is to be considered as general education. This is not advice and it is not to be acted upon without advice from a qualified professional who understands your personal circumstances.

Copyright © 2018 Wockner Lawyers. All Rights Reserved. Contact Wockner Lawyers – [email protected]. This article may not be used without the prior written consent from the author. See below for more details…

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For assistance with your next Property and Conveyancing transaction, or your Wills and Estate Planning arrangements, contact Wockner Lawyers.

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