November 2018 | Jonathan Harris
In New South Wales, beneficiaries under a will are entitled to receive a copy of the will. This is done by making a formal request to the executor of the estate who must provide a copy, but generally at the beneficiary’s expense.
However, people often ask, who is entitled to see a will on the death of a willmaker.
The answer is that a wide group of persons are entitled to inspect and make copies of a will.
The law in New South Wales, for example, provides that “a person who has possession or control of a will of a deceased person must allow any one or more of the following persons to inspect or be given copies of the will (at their own expense)”:
- anyone named or referred to in the will, whether as a beneficiary or not;
- anyone named or referred to in an earlier will as a beneficiary of the deceased person;
- the surviving spouse;
- the de facto partner;
- the children of the deceased person;
- a parent or guardian of the deceased person;
- a parent or guardian of a minor who is referred to in the will or who would be entitled to a share of the estate if there had been an intestacy;
- any other person who would be entitled to a share of the estate if there had been an intestacy;
- any person, including a creditor, who has or may have a claim at law or in equity against the estate;
- any person committed with the management of the deceased’s estate under the NSW Trustee and Guardian Act 2009 immediately before the death of the deceased;
- an attorney under an enduring power of attorney made by the deceased person; and
- any other person prescribed by regulations.
Alternatively, any person may obtain a copy of a will once probate has been granted as it becomes a public document at that time. This is done by lodging a request with the Probate Registry of the Supreme Court and paying the relevant fee.
We recommend that you review your will. For enquiries about Estate Planning, please contact Jonathan Harris or Steven Nemes on (02) 9231 2466 or by email firstname.lastname@example.org and email@example.com.