The executor is refusing to provide me a copy of the Will, what can I do?
- 12 Dec 2018
The death of a family member can be an extremely stressful time. This can often become more distressing when family members are competing for a proportion of the deceased estate.
One of the first questions that you will be asked if you are seeking legal advice about contesting the validity of a Will or potentially making a Family Provisions claim against the deceased estate is “Do you have a copy of the Will?”.
Section 54 of the Succession Act 2006 (NSW), provides a statutory right for certain people to inspect a copy of the deceased Will.
The categories of people who are entitled to inspect a copy of a Will are broad and include:
- 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 person,
- the surviving spouse, de facto partner or issue of the deceased person,
- a parent or guardian of the deceased person,
- any person who would be entitled to a share of the estate of the deceased person if the deceased person had died intestate,
- any parent or guardian of a minor referred to in the will or who would be entitled to a share of the estate of the testator if the testator had died intestate,
- any person (including a creditor) who has or may have a claim at law or in equity against the estate of the deceased person,
- any person committed with the management of the deceased person's estate under the NSW Trustee and Guardian Act 2009 immediately before the death of the deceased person,
- any attorney under an enduring power of attorney made by the deceased person,
- any person belonging to a class of persons prescribed by the regulations.
Anyone holding a Will for a deceased person, such as an executor or a solicitor, must make available a copy of the Will for inspection, or a copy can be provided to you. If a copy of the Will is provided to you, you may be asked to cover the estate’s expenses for providing you with a copy of the Will.
If you believe that you are within the class of persons entitled to inspect a copy of the deceased’s person will and after making a request to inspect the Will, the Executor (or person holding the will) refuses or fails to allow you to inspect the Will or to provide you with a copy, you should contact Firths immediately for legal advice.
If you are a beneficiary of a Will, or believe you are entitled to a share of a deceased estate contact Firths The Compensation Lawyers for a no-obligation free case assessment.