A Will is not a public document while a person is alive. When a person dies there are a number of people who are entitled to see a copy of the deceased’s Will. This includes:
- Any person named or referred to in the Will whether as a beneficiary or not;
- Any person named or referred to in an earlier Will as a beneficiary of the deceased;
- The surviving spouse, de facto partner (including same sex de facto partners) and any children of the deceased;
- A parent or guardian of the deceased;
- Any person who would be entitled to a share of the Estate of the deceased if the deceased had died without a Will and their Estate was dealt with under the Intestacy Rules;
- Any parent or guardian of a child referred to in the Will or who would have been entitled to a share of the Estate if the deceased had died without a Will and their Estate was dealt with under the Intestacy Rules;
- Any person (including a creditor) who may have a legal claim against the Estate;
- Any person appointed as the deceased’s guardian under the NSW Trustee and Guardian Act 2009 immediately before the death of the deceased; and
- Any attorney appointed under an enduring power of attorney by the deceased.
A person who has control or possession of the Will of the deceased is also legally required to provide a copy to a Court if requested to do so.
The above groups of people are entitled to see the deceased’s Will before the Will has received a Grant of Probate from the Court. After the Will has received a Grant of Probate from the Court any member of the public can obtain a copy of a Will on paying a fee to the Supreme Court of New South Wales.
What is a Grant of Probate?
When a person dies their Will needs to be lodged with the Supreme Court of New South Wales so that a Grant of Probate can issue.
A Grant of Probate is a legal document that allows the Executor or Executors named in the Will to deal with the assets of the deceased. This includes collecting the assets of the deceased, paying any debts of the deceased and, finally, distributing the assets of the deceased to the beneficiaries named in the deceased’s Will.
Not all Wills are required to receive a Grant of Probate and it will depend on the size of the deceased Estate as to whether a Grant of Probate is required.
Graeme Heckenberg is an expert Wills & Estates lawyer and will be able to guide and advise you on Wills, Estates and Contesting a Will.
Call today for an appointment and ask about our “No Win No Fee” policy. Our offices are conveniently situated in Macquarie Street, Sydney, CBD and close to public transport. Call 9221 2779