Wills, Estates and Beneficiary Rights – Part 1

Is there a ‘reading of the will’?

A very common question I hear from family members of a deceased is “when is the reading of the Will”.

The answer is… “there is no requirement for a ‘reading of the Will’ in Australia”.

Sadly, most of us are guilty of watching too much American TV. We are constantly exposed to images of lawyers theatrically walking around court rooms eyeballing jurors and hearing about “the reading of Wills” where TV characters die. The reality is, our Australian legal system is quite different from American TV yet most of us seem to know more about the American legal system than we do about our own.

In Australia, an executor simply needs to notify a beneficiary of their entitlements under a Will upon the issue of a Grant of Probate. It is common practice for the executor to also provide them with a copy of the Grant (which attaches a copy of the Will).

Are you a beneficiary?

Often individuals want to know as soon as possible whether they are a beneficiary of an Estate, and before a Grant of Probate is made.

If you are unsure whether you are a beneficiary of an estate and want to check the Will, here are some of your options:

What if you are unhappy about the provision, or lack of provision, the deceased has made for you in their Will?

Often disputes regarding the division and distribution of an estate can be resolved amicably between parties without the need to commence any Court proceedings.

However, at times, where one or both parties are unwilling to negotiate or simply cannot reach a resolution, disgruntled beneficiaries are often left with no choice but to commence legal action against the Estate pursuant to the Family Provision Act(WA) 1972. More on this in Part 2 of this series.

If you believe that you have not been adequately provided for out of a deceased estate, or you require assistance with defending your position as a beneficiary of an estate because someone is challenging your entitlements, the lawyers at Bailiwick Legal can help. To find out more, contact karolina@bailiwicklegal.com.au or phone 9321 5451.

For further information about our legal services, please visit our website: https://www.bailiwicklegal.com.au/

The above information is a summary and overview of the matters discussed. This publication does not constitute legal advice and you should seek legal or other professional advice before acting or relying on any of the content.

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