The topic of how to get a copy of a Will is especially relevant for beneficiaries of a Will. Beneficiaries are the people who are entitled to receive a portion of the estate/property of the deceased person.
The beneficiaries do not automatically receive a copy of a Will. There is a process that needs to be followed when gaining a copy.
This article will discuss the process involved, and other points including who is eligible to receive a copy of a Will, and whether or not there is a time period that needs to be considering when doing the same.
Who Can Get A Copy Of A Will?
According to the Probate and Administration Act 1898, once a Will has been admitted to probate, any person is eligible to apply to the Supreme Court of NSW for a copy, once they have paid the fees associated with doing so.
Under Section 54 of the Succession Act 2006, it is the duty of the executor (person nominated to take care of the Will) to provide copies of Will upon request to the following people: –
- any person named in the Will
- a person or beneficiary named in any previous Will
- the parent of the deceased
- the spouse or the child of the deceased
- any person who may have a claim against the estate of the deceased
- any person who was entrusted with the management of the deceased person’s estate under the NSW Trustee and Guardian Act 2009 before the death of the Will-maker
- anyone who would have been entitled to a share of the estate had the deceased died without a Will
- an attorney acting as under an enduring power of attorney made by the deceased person
- any other person as described by the NSW succession regulations.
In terms of eligibility, there are two things that need to be considered: –
- You may need to identify yourself, and prove that you are an eligible person (as listed above) as per the Succession Act 2006; and
- You may need to pay administrative fees that may apply to receive a copy.
How To Obtain A Copy Of A Will?
There are a few steps to follow if you wish to get a copy of a Will. These are: –
- The first and the foremost step in obtaining a copy of a Will is to contact the executor, or any other person who may have possession of the Will, and request a copy. Generally, the solicitors acting for the estate will also have access to the Will.
- On the NSW Supreme Court website, you need to do a search for the details of the deceased.
- The lawyers of the executor in charge can be contacted, and a request can be made to them to receive a copy.
- Contact the Supreme Court probate registry, and request a copy from their records. To contact the NSW probate registry, you can call on 1300 679 272. Alternatively, an application can be made through the NSW probate registry website.
Are There Any Time Limits?
In case of requesting for copy of a Will, there are no time limits. However, many people seek to obtain a copy because they feel that they have not been left with adequate provisions by the Will-maker.
In case you want a copy because you feel that the Will does not provide adequately for you, it is important for you to know there are legislated time limits within which a family provision claim can be made.
This claim needs to be made within 12 months of the date of the death of deceased. Accordingly, you will need to get a copy sooner.
Frequently Asked Questions
1. When will I be able to obtain a copy of a Will?
Once the Court has granted probate for a Will, it becomes a public document. This then means that all eligible persons can apply for a copy, once the Will has been admitted to probate.
Nobody is entitled to see a copy of the Will prior to the person’s death. This is the case even if you are the executor or a beneficiary.
2. Can I contact the solicitor who prepared the Will?
Before the Will-maker dies, the solicitor has no obligation to inform beneficiaries of their status. The solicitor can be contacted after the death of the Will-maker, to request for copies of the document.
3. How to find out of the Will has been lodged?
To check if a Will has been lodged, you can search the the index of the Probate Registry of the Supreme Court.
Importance Of Seeking JB Solicitors’ Legal Advice
If you are reading this article, it is likely that someone you know has recently passed away. We understand how stressful this time is for you. Adding to that, the legal issues that may arise cause one to feel more overwhelmed.
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