A lot of people, especially beneficiaries, may wonder ‘when is a Will read?’. As opposed to what we see in TV shows and movies, there is no official reading of a Will. Movies and TV shows portray family members gathering together for a Will’s official reading.
Again, this is not the case. In fact, potential beneficiaries may wonder if they are listed to receive assets and properties. It is the responsibility of executors to contact beneficiaries regarding such matters. However, Will-makers should appoint one or more executors before they pass away.
This is because executors take on the responsibility of managing a deceased’s estate. Although people wondering ‘when is a will read?’ should also consider their chances of getting a copy of a Will. Now that we answered the question ‘when is a will read’, let’s discuss how people can know if they are included in a Will.
Importance Of A Will
Wills are legal documents that set out a deceased’s wishes and intentions for his/her assets and properties. Moreover, Wills cover additional details like guardianship of children, who to appoint as the executor, and funeral arrangements. It’s also essential to have a Will regardless of one’s social or financial status.
When people die without a Will (die intestate), it results in governments handling their estate and asset distribution. This clearly means that the government won’t distribute these assets and properties the way the deceased wants. Furthermore, grieving family members and beneficiaries will also have to administer the estate if the deceased died intestate.
On the other hand, dying partially intestate means a person has a valid Will but it doesn’t contain asset provisions. This often happens when a testator (the Will-maker) does not update his/her Will after drafting it. Another instance may be a testator divorcing and marrying into a new family. This may become a big problem if children were appointed as beneficiaries in the original Will.
When Is A Will Read: Obtaining A Copy Of A Will
As mentioned, people wondering ‘when is a will read’ should know how to obtain a copy of a Will. Executors, next of kin, trustees, or a lawyer can provide a copy of a Will. Indeed, the long wait may cause potential beneficiaries to wonder ‘when is a will read’ and a lot of distress. According to the Succession Act 2006 (NSW), people possessing a Will can provide a copy to:
- People named in the Will;
- People named or referred to in any previous versions of a Will;
- A surviving child or spouse;
- The deceased’s parent or guardian;
- A person entitled to receive part of the deceased’s estate if the deceased died intestate; and
- People who may have a claim against the estate
People wanting to get a copy of the Will should cover the associated costs. People wondering ‘when is a will read’ may also realise that they have shares from a deceased’s estate. Thus, they can make a request for a copy of a Will.
However, people can only obtain a copy of a Will if it underwent probate. Probate is the process of validating a Will and distributing its assets. After the Will is validated, it then becomes a public document. Here are ways of obtaining a copy of a Will.
- Contacting the executor. People who are unsure of the executor’s whereabouts can contact other people who they think possess the Will.
- Searching for the Will in an online registry
- Contacting the deceased’s representative, such as a solicitor
- Reaching out to the Supreme Court probate registry and asking for a copy of the Will.
When Is A Will Read: Who Can Read A Will?
Before the Will undergoes probate, only the testator is allowed to read the Will. Although, lawyers can also read a Will since they usually draft the Will. Living testators can prevent anyone from reading a Will since it’s their property.
People wondering ‘when is a Will read’ should not keep their hopes up as this is just a popular misconception. Beneficiaries, family members, and any other persons are not allowed to see or read a Will. Testators can also change beneficiaries before their passing.
The only time where beneficiaries can read and see a Will is if the testator dies. Moreover, executors have the duty and obligation to inform beneficiaries of the testator’s death. This also allows people to make claims on the deceased’s estate.
Challenging Or Contesting A Will
There may be instances where people or beneficiaries are not satisfied with a Will’s contents. Maybe some beneficiaries will dispute and claim that they should have a larger share of the estate. While others may also claim that the Will contains many inconsistencies.
Beneficiaries who may think that they should have a larger share of an estate can contest a Will. By contrast, people or beneficiaries who question a Will’s validity can challenge a Will. People wondering ‘when is a Will read’ may see these disputes in movies as this highlights the people’s emotions. While this may also happen in real-life situations, it’s important to seek a solicitor’s advice.
Importance Of Seeking Legal Advice
This article has answered the question ‘ by covering the factors related to f a Will. Because of modern television shows, people actually think that there is an official reading of a Will. Although, after a testator’s death, beneficiaries and other people can either accept, challenge, or contest a Will.
Thus, it’s important to seek legal advice if you wish to dispute a Will. JB Solicitors has a wide range of family lawyers that can help with Will disputes and family provision claims. Our Wills and estate planning lawyers can help in identifying if Wills are valid and if beneficiaries should get more.
Not only can we assist in Will disputes, but we can also draft legally binding Wills for our clients. Also, clients do not have to go through the trouble of deciding who to appoint as an executor. Our family lawyers are more than qualified to act as executors for testators if need be.
Contact JB Solicitors today for matters about Wills and Estate planning.