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How to Get a copy of a Will in New South Wales

Key Points

Summary

When a loved one passes away, the contents of their Will become of paramount importance to ensure their final wishes are respected and their estate is properly distributed. If there is a dispute about the validity of the Will, obtaining copies of the current Will and any past Wills is important. In New South Wales, the legal process of obtaining a copy of a will is governed by Section 54 of the Succession Act 2006. 

Who can get a copy of a Will?

Section 54 of the Succession Act 2006 specifies the individuals who are entitled to obtain a copy of the deceased person’s will. These include:

  1. Persons named in the Will: Any person named or referred to in the Will.
  2. Beneficiaries: Any person named or referred to as a beneficiary in the Will has the right to receive a copy of the document.

  3. Former Beneficiaries: Individuals named or referred to as beneficiaries in any earlier Will of the deceased.

  4. Spouse, Child, Parent, or Guardian: The deceased’s spouse, child, parent, or guardian, irrespective of whether they are named in the Will or not, can get a copy of the Will.

  5. Legal Representative: The executor or administrator of the deceased’s estate has the authority to access a copy of the will.

  6. Intestate Beneficiaries: Any person that would be entitled to a share of the estate if the person had died without a valid Will.

If any of the people above are minors, their parents or guardian are entitled to a copy of the Will.

Can I get a copy of a Will whilst someone is alive?

There is no entitled to get a person’s Will whilst they are alive. 

It is only once someone has passed away that eligible persons are able to obtain a copy or inspect a Will.

What Happens if Someone Refuses to Give a Copy of the Will?

The Court can order a person who has the possession or control of a Will to produce it to the Court. If a person with possession or control of a Will refuses to provide a copy or let you inspect the Will, you can apply to the Supreme Court.

The application to the Court can be a complex process and can have cost consequences if not made appropriate. If you are considering making an application, contact our experienced estate dispute lawyers for advice.

Contact our team for advice

Section 54 of the Succession Act 2006 ensures that specific individuals in New South Wales have the right to access a copy of a deceased person’s will. By following the prescribed steps and determining your eligibility, you can obtain the necessary document to understand the estate’s distribution and uphold the deceased’s final wishes. If faced with resistance or refusal to provide the requested will, seeking professional legal assistance is crucial to protect your rights and resolve the matter through proper legal channels.

Our experienced estate solicitors can advise you on your rights and can assist you with getting a copy of a Will. Contact our team today.

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Disclaimer

No part of these notes can be regarded as legal advice. Although all care has been taken in preparing all notes, readers must not alter their position or refrain from doing so in reliance on any of these notes. Stephen Wawn & Associates do not accept or undertake any duty of care to readers relating to any of these notes. All inquiries should be directed to Stephen Wawn & Associates.