Who and How – obtaining a copy of someone’s Will
“Strict time limits are involved when dealing with Estate matters so getting the right information from the beginning is vital”
After a loved one passes away questions arise about the deceased’s wishes. Who did they want to their Estate to go to? Did they want to be cremated or buried? Who do you need to talk about the funeral arrangements? Have they left someone out of their Will? The Executor of a Will is the person tasked with making sure the deceased’s wishes are followed – but what if you’re not the Executor and you have these questions?
It’s a simple answer, you need a copy of the Will. However, what is often not so simple is whether you are legally entitled to a copy of the Will and if you are, how do you obtain a copy?
Who is entitled to a copy of the Will?
In Queensland, section 33Z of the Succession Act names certain persons who are eligible to receive a certified copy of a deceased’s Will and may inspect the original Will. A person may fall into the category of an eligible person if they are:
The spouse, parent or child of the deceased;
Mentioned in the Will including someone who is not mentioned by name (for example, a Will may refer to a children or grandchildren without providing specific names);
Mentioned in any previous Will;
Someone entitled to part of the estate if the deceased died intestate – meaning without a Will;
A parent or guardian of a child who may have a claim against the Estate;
A creditor owed money by the estate;
Someone who is entitled to bring a family provision claim against the estate such as a financial dependent.
If you fall into one of these categories, you are entitled to know what is in the Will but how to you get a copy?
How do I obtain a copy of the Will?
Section 33Z requires that any person who is in possession or control of the Will, or has a copy of the original Will which has been lost, stolen or destroyed, must allow an eligible person to inspect the Will, copy of the Will and/or provided you with a certified copy of the Will. The usual place to start would be requesting a copy of the Will from the Executor of the Estate or their solicitor. However, as this rule applies to anyone with a copy of the Will you may be able to obtain a copy from a previous solicitor of the deceased or another beneficiary who has a copy.
It is also possible to obtain a copy of the Will through the Supreme Court Probate Registry if an application for Probate has been made. This means that if you are not an eligible person you may still be able to get a copy from the Supreme Court.
The passing of a loved one is an emotional and uncertain time. If you are unsure if you are entitled to a copy of a Will, you are having trouble obtaining a copy or you have a copy and are questioning what you see we can help. Strict time limits are involved when dealing with Estate matters so getting the right information from the beginning is vital. If you need assistance or guidance, at time when emotions are running high, then one of our fixed fee initial appointments for $330 are a great way to get some guidance on these issues.
On A Final Note…
You may be thinking that’s all great information but what happens if someone dies without a Will? When you die without a valid Will you are said to have died intestate. You can find out more information here about what happens when someone passes away without a valid Will.
Starting at $330 for a simple Will the question really is why you wouldn’t just get a Will done up now! Having a Will gives you peace of mind, gives your family peace of mind and it gives you control over what happens when you die. Death alone will cause enough stress and anxiety for your loved ones, don’t leave things in a mess for them to have to pick up the pieces of your estate as well. Give us a call today or book in online to speak with us about getting your Will done up. We have a quick turnaround in getting it all done and dusted – all signed from 3 business days from when you first see us.