Margaret Arthur, Partner with CRH Law speaking with you today about who is entitled to see a copy of the Will when somebody dies in Queensland.
When a family member dies people within the family, or other interested parties, generally expect to be provided with a copy of the Will, or told as to what’s in the Will. Well that doesn’t always happen. It’s not uncommon for people to come to us and say that a problem has popped up in that a loved one or a family member or close relative has passed away, and that they expect to be provided with a copy of the Will but that hasn’t happened.
Now, this can create all sorts of problems for people. Fortunately in Queensland, Section 33Z of the Succession Act is extremely helpful in that it names certain persons as being eligible to receive a copy of the Will certified appropriately as being a true copy of the original Will, or to inspect the actual Will itself.
This can be extremely helpful if you do fall within the category of an eligible person. This eligibility extends to people such as the parent of the deceased, spouse of the deceased including a de facto spouse, child of the deceased. It also includes a person named as a beneficiary in the Will or a person who was named as a beneficiary in a previous Will. It gives this right to a person who would have been entitled to inherit from the deceased had they died without making a Will. That is under the Intestacy Rules of Queensland.
The provision also extends the right to see the Will, or to have a copy of the Will provided to a person who is owed money by the deceased. Eligibility is fairly broad in that it also extends to people who would be able to challenge the Will and to bring a family provision claim against the estate of the deceased.
The next question is what are these eligible people entitled to see? What are the documents that are referred to under Section 33Z?
It can be worth baring in mind that Section 33Z provides the right to a copy and the ability to inspect a document to not only the current Will, but also to a revoked Will. It may be that you’re interested to know what was in a previous Will. Section 33Z can help the.
It also enables the document that is part of a Will or part of a revoked Will or formal will to be accessed as well.
It also extends to a document that’s been purported to be a Will. It may be that there are question marks about the document that somebody is purporting that that document is the actual Will.
Section 33Z is a very useful section for people who are being frustrated in their attempts to find out what’s in a Will.
If you’re not somebody who falls within the category of an eligible person under Section 33Z that might not be the end of the story. It is possible if probate of a Will is sought to access a copy of that document through the Supreme Court probate registry. In situations where a probate application is being made, so where probate of a Will is required, the original Will has to be provided to the Supreme Court.
It’s possible to access documents on the Supreme Court file and to be provided with copies. If you’re unable to obtain a copy of the Will under Section 33Z, it’s worth baring in mine that it may be possible to get a copy from the Supreme Court.
If, however, neither of those options is helpful to you, you’re not eligible and probate of the Will isn’t sought, you may be in a trickier situation. If that does arise, you probably will need to get legal advice.
For most people Section 33Z is a very effective way of finding out what is in a Will, and perhaps what is in a former document that maybe relevant to them as well. I hope you found this useful.