If watching American movies has taught us anything, it’s that the real drama happens at the “reading of the Will” where family and friends gather before the wills lawyer to be shocked by the bombshells dropped in the deceased’s Will read aloud to the group.
When is the Reading of a Will?
In Australia, there is no reading of the Will. No such requirement exists in Australian law, much to the disappointment of any Wills & Estates Lawyers with a thirst for drama.
So How Do I Find out if I’m Included in a Will?
Discovering if you’ve been provided for in a Will is far less theatrical in Queensland. Section 33Z of the Succession Act 1981 (Qld) entitles you to receive a certified copy of the Will if you:
- are named in the will (e.g. as beneficiary, trustee, executor or in any other way);
- were named in any earlier Will made by the deceased;
- are the deceased’s spouse, parent or child;
- would be entitled to share the estate if the deceased had died intestate which means dying without a Will. For eligibility contact us or read about Letters of Administration QLD);
- are the parent of a child under 18 mentioned in the Will or if would be entitled to share the estate if the deceased had died intestate;
- are a creditor or someone who has a claim against the estate (i.e. you were owed money by the deceased);
- have standing to make a Family Provision Claim.
The Executor Won’t Give me a Copy of the Will
If your relationship to the deceased is not clear and if you are not known to the Executor, they might rightfully demand you demonstrate your eligibility to view the Will. We recommend trying some of the techniques in our guide: how to get a copy of the Will.
The refusal of a reasonable request to see the Will is a big red flag. If you believe you are entitled to a copy of a Will and don’t get one within a week or two of your request, you should act swiftly to protect your rights. Strict time limits apply to making a family provision claim or challenging the validity of a will.
I’ve Seen the Will and I’m not in it. What can I do?
If you feel that you have been unfairly left out of a Will, you should contact an experienced will disputes lawyer. If you would like advice or assistance contact us for a free consultation.