Hi, I’m Richard Dawson, partner in charge of the estate team here at OMB. Today, I’m going to talk to you about how to obtain a copy of a will after a person dies.
The law varies from state to state, but in Queensland, an eligible person is entitled to apply for and request a certified copy of a will from the person who holds the original. Now, that person might be the executor of the estate, it might be the spouse of a deceased person.
Quite often, and certainly in the case of OMB solicitors, where we hold our clients’ original wills in our safe, the request is quite often made of our firm, from an eligible person or a legal representative acting on their behalf. Who is an eligible person to request a copy of a will? Well, there are a number of them.
First of all, the executor or an administrator of an estate is definitely entitled to a copy of the will. How else would they be able to administer the estate and the deceased person’s wishes. A solicitor acting on behalf of the estate or on behalf of a beneficiary is entitled to ask, and so is the public trustee of Queensland.
It’s important to understand that there are a broad range of wills that must be provided, not just a certified copy of the original last will, but an eligible person would be entitled to ask for copies of previous wills or even draft wills before those such wills were made.
The following category of people are eligible persons to apply or request a certified copy of a will in Queensland. For example, a person mentioned in a will, whether or not they are a beneficiary or whether or not they’re actually named as a beneficiary.
For example, I leave part of my estate to the children of Mary Smith. Therefore, the children of Mary Smith are entitled to request a copy of the will. A person mentioned in an earlier will of a deceased person, whether a beneficiary or not.
The other category is a spouse, a parent, or a child of a deceased person is always entitled to see a copy of the will. A person who would be entitled to a share of the estate if the deceased did not leave a will and they died what is known as intestate.
Now that covers generally all next of kin from spouse, children, aunts, uncles, nieces, nephews, brothers, sisters, grandparents, right down to the line of first cousins. So there’s a large range of people who can apply in that instance.
Another category would be a parent or guardian of a minor who is mentioned in the will, a creditor who the deceased may have owed money to at the date of death.
They are also entitled to a certified copy of the will, and lastly, anyone who may be entitled to commence a family provision application against the estate, that is generally limited to spouse, parents, and children, but it also includes stepchildren or adopted children.
That essentially covers the class of people who may be entitled to a copy of the will. However, one should always bear in mind that there are time limitations on which to challenge a will.
So this should not be left for a long period of time and the moment you make up your mind or you know somebody who wants to request a copy of a deceased person’s will, contact us so that we can put the necessary steps in place.
For example, we need to find out who the executor is, if known, who the solicitors are, who are acting for that executor, is the public trustee involved? And so on and so on.
So, please don’t waste any time in getting in contact with us if you’d like a copy of a will to be provided to you. Otherwise, you may lose certain rights to take the next step, such as commencing an application for further provision from the estate.
If you’re interested or need further advice, please don’t hold back, get in contact, and reach out to OMB Solicitors, and we’ll be sure to be able to provide you with a certified copy of a will, where the circumstances allow. Thank you.