Many people often wonder if there is a reading of a Will after death of testator. The testator is the person who has prepared a Will. In other words, the testator is the Will-maker. In Australia, there is no legal requirement for reading of a Will after death of testator.
Movies and TV shows have introduced the concept of reading of a Will after death of testator. In reality, reading of a Will after death of testator does not take place.
However, it might be advantageous to conduct a reading of a Will after death of testator. If there is a family gathering with all beneficiaries and executor/s present, it might be helpful to go over the Will together.
During this, relevant parties can strategise on how to carry out estate progression. Moreover, they can collectively go over the terms of the Will.
While there isn’t any formal requirement for “reading” of a Will after death of testator, beneficiaries and executors must deal with the Will within 12 months from date of death of the testator.
What Happens After Death Of Testator?
As mentioned above, there is no legal requirement for reading of a Will after death of testator. In reality, once the testator has passed away, his or her Will is admitted to probate court.
The court then appoints an executor to administer the estate of the deceased. Generally, the testator nominates an executor is his or her Will.
The executor has some unique responsibilities in relation to estate administration. Firstly, the executor will need to arrange a funeral for the deceased. The testator typically mentions funeral wishes and intentions in his/her Will.
As a next step, and more importantly, the executor will need to contact the beneficiaries of the Will. This is especially important in the absence of a formal reading of a Will after death of testator in Australia.
This is the primary way through which beneficiaries become aware that they have certain entitlements according to the Will. Therefore, the executor must be competent and proactive enough to deal with such matters following the death of the Will-maker.
Who Can Get A Copy Of A Will?
Whether people choose to read the Will or not, it is important to note who can access copies of the Will.
Section 54 of the Succession Act NSW (2006) provides a list of people who are eligible to receive a copy of the Will. This includes:
- The spouse, and any surviving children of the testator;
- Anyone who the testator has named in the Will, either as a beneficiary or otherwise;
- A parent or guardian of the deceased;
- Anyone who the testator named in any previous Wills;
- People responsible for managing the estate before the death of testator;
- Any person who has a claim against the estate; and
- People who would be entitled to receive a share of the estate if the deceased had died without a Will.
If you think you should be able to access a copy of Will, read on below to find out how to obtain the copy.
How To Obtain A Copy Of The Will If There Is No Reading Of A Will After Death?
There are different steps that you can take in order to obtain a copy of the Will. Given below are few of the steps you can consider taking:
- Reach out to the executor of the Will and request a copy.
- If you are unsure who the executor is, contact people who you think would be in possession of the Will in question.
- If they cannot provide you with the copy, get in touch with the solicitors or lawyers of the executor of the Will, and request a copy.
- Lastly, on the NSW Supreme Court online registry website, look for details of the deceased.
I Have Been Left Out Of The Will. What Can I Do If No Reading Of Will After Death?
If you have not been named in the Will, but strongly feel that you are entitled to receive some portion of the estate, you can file for a claim.
However, to do so, you must eligible to make a family provision claim. The following people can make a family provision claim if they have been left of the Will, or not adequately provided for in the Will:
- De facto partners;
- Former spouses;
- Any person who was living with the deceased before they died, or who had a close relationship with the deceased.
People can make family provision claims within one year from the date of death of deceased. Moreover, the person will need to file a summons and an affidavit to support their claims.
Estate Planning Solicitors From JB Solicitors
This article has explored the topic of reading of a Will after death of testator. You have now understood that Australia has no such legal requirement to go through with a reading of a Will after death of Will-maker.
While family members can opt to do so, it is not legally necessary. But, it is still important for concerned parties to know if they have been nominated in the Will. Moreover, they should be aware of the terms of the Will. They should also have information about the estate and the extent of the estate.
Executors have the responsibility to inform beneficiaries about the Will. It is important for executors to consult estate planning solicitors to be fully aware of their duties and responsibilities.
At JB Solicitors, we have a team of estate planning lawyers who have the experience and knowledge of assisting clients with all their estate planning needs. We also offer expert counsel to executors of Wills.
If you are a family member who wishes to make a family provision claim against a Will, we offer market-leading advice to help you prepare your claim.
If you wish to obtain more information regarding estate planning, check our blog page on Wills and probate.
Contact us if you wish to speak with our experienced team of lawyers.