How do I get a copy of the Will when the deceased estate is located in NSW?
One of the first challenges people encounter when they try and contest a Will or challenge a Will is actually obtaining the Will in the first place. Unless someone has been shown a Will, or they are the Executor of the Will, they will not know what the Will contains.
See Also: How to Obtain a Copy of the Will
Frequently asked questions about obtaining a copy of a will
1. Can I seek out the solicitor who prepared the Will to find out if I am included as a “beneficiary”?
Even if you are certain you are named as beneficiary in the Will, the solicitor who is preparing, or has prepared, the Will is under no obligation by law to confirm this. Only when the testator is deceased will the solicitor notify the Executor, who will then begin administering the deceased Estate and notifying all the named beneficiaries.
See Also: Executor’s Duties
2. When will I be able to get a copy of the Will?
The Will will be lodged with the Court once they have received an application for probate. Once probate has been granted, it will then become a matter of public record. This process, from start to finish, may take a couple of weeks to a couple of months depending on the Court’s workload and priorities – which is something solicitors have no control over.
See Also: Probate
3. Who can obtain a copy of the Will in NSW?
A person who has possession or control of a Will of a deceased person, whose Estate is to be administered, must allow a person to inspect or have a copy of the Will if they are:
- a person named or referred to in the Will, whether as a beneficiary or not,
- a person named or referred to in an earlier will as a beneficiary of the deceased person,
- the surviving spouse, de facto partner (whether of the same or the opposite sex) or child of the deceased person,
- a parent or guardian of the deceased person,
- a person who would be entitled to a share of the Estate of the deceased person if the deceased person had died intestate,
- a 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,
- a person (including a creditor) who has or may have a claim at law or in equity against the Estate of the deceased person,
- a person committed with the management of the deceased person’s Estate under the Trustee and Guardian Act 2009 immediately before the death of the deceased person,
- an attorney under an enduring power of attorney made by the deceased person,
- a person belonging to a class of persons prescribed by the succession regulations.
Note that a copy of the Will may be made available to you at your own expense. You can lodge your request to obtain the Will with the Probate Registry of the Supreme Court.
For more information about how to obtain a copy of the Will, please call our Contested Wills & Estates Team or send us a message using the form on the bottom of this page.
4. How do I know when the Will has been lodged? Is there any way I can find out?
The Probate Registry of the Supreme Court keep an index that is searchable by the general public. The index is easy-to-use and arranged by year, and then the surname of the Will’s testator. Because of the time involved (weeks to months) you may need to check this index on a regular basis (e.g. mark a time in your calendar to check once a fortnight).