This is something we encounter quite a lot from people who believe, for whatever reason, that they are entitled to read or obtain a copy of a Deceased person’s Will.
But who is actually entitled to do so? The answer lies in Section 33Z of the Succession Act. Section 33Z (1) (a) says that only an entitled person can inspect a deceased persons Will.
So who is an entitled person? Again we need to go to Section 33Z(4) of the Act which states that an entitled person is either of the following:
(a) a person mentioned in the Will, or mentioned in any earlier Will as a beneficiary; or
(b) is a spouse, parent, or child of the Testator; or is a person who would be entitled to a share of the Estate if the deceased had died intestate; or
(c) a parent or guardian of a child mentioned in the Will or who would be entitled to a share of the Estate if the Testator had died intestate; or
(d) a creditor or other person who has a claim against the Estate.
What is a testamentary trust?
It’s also worthwhile mentioning that you can create a testamentary trust (you can also create more than one of these trusts) and nominate a trustee to oversee the distribution of your capital and assets, via this trust. The trustee can also be a beneficiary of your Will, but this isn’t necessary. As a trustee of your testamentary trust, they are also entitled to read your Will.
So if you are named as an Executor of a Will and someone demands to read or obtain a copy of the Will, first make sure they are entitled to do so.
Should you wish to discuss any matters regarding the matters raised in this article please contact Mr John McLaughlin of McLaughlin & Associates on 3808 7777.