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.
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:
Beneficiaries: Any person named or referred to as a beneficiary in the Will has the right to receive a copy of the document.
Former Beneficiaries: Individuals named or referred to as beneficiaries in any earlier Will of the deceased.
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.
Legal Representative: The executor or administrator of the deceased’s estate has the authority to access a copy of the will.
If any of the people above are minors, their parents or guardian are entitled to a copy of the Will.
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.
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.
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.