When a friend or a family member passes away, it can easy to assume that there will be a formal reading of their Will, however, this is not always the case. So, if you want to see the contents of the deceased’s Will, can you request a copy?
Here is what you need to know.
Start with a conversation
To request a copy of a loved one’s Will, you need to speak with someone who has possession or control of the Will, such as an Executor or Administrator. These parties are required to allow an entitled person to inspect the Will and provide a certified copy upon request.
In Queensland, the Succession Act 1981 (Qld) highlights who is entitled to obtain a copy of a Will under section 33Z and these people include:
A person mentioned in the Will, whether as a beneficiary or not and whether named or not.
A person mentioned in any earlier Will as a beneficiary and whether named or not.
A parent, guardian, spouse, de factor partner or child.
If the deceased has died intestate, any person who would be entitled to a share of the estate.
A parent or guardian of a minor mentioned in the Will, or who would be entitled to a share of the estate if the deceased had died intestate.
A creditor or other person who has a claim at law or in equity against the estate.
A person entitled to challenge the Will.
A person who may apply for an order under section 41 of the Succession Act 1981 (Qld).
Requesting a copy
If you are an eligible person, you have the right to inspect or request a certified copy of the deceased’s Will and this includes copies of earlier Wills too. This can be requested from a person who has possession or control of the Will such as an Executor or Administrator. With providing a certified copy, you may be liable to pay the person’s reasonable expenses incurred to provide the copy.
What to do if you are refused
If you are an eligible person and you are refused the right to inspect or obtain a certified copy of the deceased’s Will, you can consider taking the following steps.
Speak with and engage a solicitor. They can liaise with the executor or person in possession of the Will on your behalf.
Where an application for probate has been lodged with the Supreme Court of Queensland, you can apply for a copy of the Will as an interested person. Fees and charges apply.
Whether you are having difficulties obtaining a copy of your loved one’s Will or if you are questioning your entitlement as a beneficiary, it can help to speak to a lawyer. Navigating the complexities of Wills and deceased estates can feel overwhelming. Our team is here to help and can help explain things in easy-to-understand terms. Contact us today for a confidential and no-obligation discussion.