‘Reading of the Will’ in Australia

A common question that arises from Executors and Beneficiaries when someone dies in Australia is “when does the reading of the Will take place?”


When does the reading of a Will take place?

Many people in Australia wonder how long after someone dies is there a reading of the Will .

The idea that there needs to be an official ‘reading of a Will’ has been glorified on the ‘big screen’.  We imagine friends and family of the deceased gathering together for an ‘offical reading of the Will’.  WRONG!

The reality is that in Australia, there is no legal requirement of official protocol for the reading of a Will to occur.

This tends to leave potential beneficiaries wondering if they are in fact included in the Will.  Furthermore, there is no protocol around when a beneficiariy should expect to hear from an Executor regarding any potential inheritance.  The wait can be very distressing for some people, especially at a time when emotions are already so high.

Although there is no official event held for the reading of a Will in Australia, we encourage Wills to be read and dealt with within 12 months of the date of the deceased.

WHO Can Obtain a Copy of the Will?

Under the Wills Act VIC (1997), once someone has died, the following persons are entitled to a copy of a Will :

  • any person named or referred to in the Will, whether as beneficiary or not;
  • any person named or referred to in any earlier Will as a beneficiary;
  • any spouse or domestic partner of the Will-maker;
  • any parent, guardian or children of the Will-maker;
  • any person who would be entitled to a share of the estate if the Will-maker had died intestate;
  • any parent or guardian of a minor referred to in the will or who would be entitled to a share of the estate if the Will-maker had died intestate;
  • any creditor or other person who has a claim against the estate of the deceased person and who produces evidence of that claim.

There may be costs associated with obtaining a copy of the Will which is usually covered by the person making the request.

HOW do I Obtain a Copy of the Will?

If you believe you are someone who is entitled to a share of a deceased estate, you can take the following steps to obtain a copy of the deceased’s Will:

  • STEP ONE: Contact the executor and ask for a copy of the Will;
  • STEP TWO: If you find the executor won’t provide you with a copy of the Will, you can make contact with their solicitor to request a copy;

To receive a copy of the will, you may need to prove you are an eligible person under the Wills Act VIC (1997).

If the above two steps fail, you make like to engage the services of a lawyer for guidance and advice.

You can get in touch with Haven Legal Co. by booking a FREE chat here.

If you don’t have a Will but would like to make one you can get started here and we will be in touch with you to book your conference within 24 hours.


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