If you are wondering ‘how to obtain a copy of a Will’ you have come to the right place as this article aims to explain the answer that question in detail.
Generally, estate planning lawyers are often asked the question of ‘how to obtain a copy of a Will’ by beneficiaries of a Will. Given below is a brief explanation of terms associated with Wills.
- Testator: Testators are the Will-makers; i.e the one who prepare a Will (or testament) is called a testator.
- Beneficiary: Beneficiaries of a Will are those who are entitled to receive a portion of the estate.
- Executor: Executors of Wills are the ones responsible for administering the estate and distributing the shares to people (as detailed in the Will) – following the death of the testator.
Before we answer the question of ‘how to obtain a copy of a Will’ let’s first see who is eligible to receive a copy of a Will.
Who Can Obtain A Copy Of Will?
In NSW, the Succession Act (2006) consists a list of people who are eligible to obtain a copy. Similarly, in QLD Section 332 of the Succession Act (1981) make such provisions for eligible persons to obtain a copy.
According to Section 54 of the Succession Act, the following people can get a copy of the Will:
- anyone who has been referred to – whether as beneficiary or not;
- the surviving spouse or de facto partner of the deceased;
- anyone named as a beneficiary;
- a parent or guardian of the deceased;
- any person who would be eligible to inherit if the estate was intestate (a person is said to die intestate when he/she does not have a valid Will at the time of their death);
- if there’s a minor referred to in the Will, any parent or guardian of the minor;
- any attorney under an enduring power of attorney made by the deceased person;
- anyone who may have a claim against the estate of the deceased person – creditors, for instance;
- anyone who had management of the estate under the NSW Trustee & Guardian Act immediately before the death of the deceased
How To Obtain A Copy Of A Will: Methods To Follow
Firstly, to obtain a copy, you should contact the executor of the Will. It is the responsibility of the executor to provide copies to parties who have requested for copies, and who are eligible to receive them.
This is the easiest and simplest way to obtain a copy. If you cannot get in touch with the executor, contact the person who you believe may have the possession of the Will and request a copy.
Secondly, you can look for the details of the deceased on the state’s Supreme Court website. For instance, in NSW you can search for the details on the NSW Supreme Court website.
Thirdly, you can contact the Supreme Court probate registry and ask them for a copy. To do so you can either lodge an application on their website, or contact them on 1300 679 272.
Fourthly, you can get in touch with the lawyers or solicitors of the executor to request a copy of the Will. If you are unsure about who the lawyer is, you can try contacting local lawyers in the area.
Importantly, for any of these processes you will be required to provide identity, and prove your eligibility to receive a copy. You need to do so according to the Succession Act and prove that you are an eligible person as mentioned in the above section.
FAQ: What If I Cannot Find The Executor?
Since you now know the answer to how to obtain a copy of a Will, let’s look at certain FAQs related to the topic of ‘how to obtain a copy of a Will.’
Contacting the executor to request a copy of the Will is a sure shot method of getting a copy because they are the ones responsible for the administration of the estate after death of the testator.
However, it is possible that you are not able to find who the executor. In this case you need to be on the lookout for death notices or legal notices in the local newspapers. Often, the details of the executor of Will are mentioned in such notices.
Secondly, if this doesn’t work, as mentioned above it is advisable to contact local solicitors from the area of where the deceased person resided, and enquire about the Will of the person.
The benefit of speaking with solicitors is that they also have solicitors networks, and they can assist you by contacting their network to request such information.
FAQ: How To Obtain A Copy Of A Will During Testator’s Lifetime?
It is natural for family members to want to see the Will of a testator. However, whether you can obtain a copy of the Will during the testator’s lifetime is based purely on the discretion of the testator himself/herself.
Some people prefer to inform their family members about the details of their estate planning. However, a testator is not legally obliged to do so. Even the solicitor of the testator will require consent from the testator before they can reveal any details.
Importance Of Seeking Legal Advice
This article has briefly explained the methods to follow if you are wondering ‘how to obtain a copy of a Will.’ Whether you are a beneficiary of the Will, or someone with a claim against the estate, it is recommended that you speak with solicitors who can help you out.
Alternatively, if you are looking to prepare a legally valid Will, speak with our experienced staff and complete your estate planning without any hassles. We offer fixed-fee pricing for our services so you can gauge the legal costs beforehand.
Contact our friendly team today.