I am often asked by new enquirers whether the Executor of an estate has a duty to hold a “reading of the Will” where the deceased’s family and friends are gathered together and the deceased’s Will is then read aloud. Although scenes such as these are played out in numerous American movies, there is no requirement to have a reading of the Will in Australia.
But how will I find out if I am in someone’s Will?
Under the Queensland Succession Act 1981, the following persons are entitled to inspect or obtain a copy of a Will after the Willmaker has passed away:
- A person mentioned in the Will, whether as beneficiary or not and whether named or not.
For example, if the Willmaker left part of their estate to “my grandchildren”, any of the Willmaker’s grandchildren would be entitled to inspect or obtain a copy of the Will, even though they are not individually named; or
- A person mentioned in any earlier Will of the Willmaker as a beneficiary, and whether named or not; or
- A spouse, parent or child of the Willmaker; or
- A person who would be entitled to a share of the estate of the Willmaker if the Willmaker had died without a Will; or
- A parent or guardian of a minor mentioned in the Will or who would be entitled to a share of the estate if the Willmaker had died without a Will; or
- A creditor or other person who has a claim at law or in equity against the estate; or
- A person who would be eligible to apply to the Court for further provision from the Willmaker’s estate.
I have obtained a copy of the Will and I am not in it, although I think I should be. What should I do?