Locating the will after the death of the testator

If you are the executor

After the death of the testator, an executor must locate the last will of the deceased in order to administer the estate in accordance with the will. 

The deceased may have before death informed the named executor of his/her/their appointment under the will and/or provided a copy of the will to the said executor.

The original will is required for an application for probate to the Supreme Court of NSW except in limited circumstances. 

If the location of the original will is unknown, the executor should make the following searches for the original will:-

  • Personal papers at the deceased’s home;
  • Enquiries with the deceased’s previous solicitors noting that the details of the solicitor or law firm who prepared the will is commonly found in the will document;
  • Enquiries with the deceased’s bank including any safe deposit boxes;
  • Enquiries with the NSW Trustee and Guardian who have storage facilities for wills.

In circumstances where the will was prepared by a solicitor who has now retired or kept by a law firm that no longer operates, the executor may approach the NSW Law Society to find out the details of the solicitor and/or law firm that has taken over the files and original wills and deeds of the retired solicitor and/or law firm. 

If you are a potential beneficiary

A potential beneficiary should clarify with the executor of the deceased’s will if he/she is a beneficiary under the will, following the death of the testator.

A person who has possession of a will, including a solicitor, must allow the following persons to inspect the will or be given a copy of the will:-

  • Any person named or referred to in the will;
  • Any person named or referred to in an earlier will as a beneficiary;
  • The surviving spouse, de facto partner or issue of the deceased;
  • A parent or guardian of the deceased;
  • Any person who would be entitled to a share of the estate of the deceased if the deceased had died intestate.

If you have any will or deceased estate queries, contact our team on (02) 9307 8900 or at [email protected].

The blog published by Rostron Carlyle Rojas Lawyers is intended as general information only and is not legal advice on any subject matter. By viewing the blog posts, the reader understands there is no solicitor-client relationship between the reader and the author. The blog should not be used as a substitute for legal advice from a legal practitioner, and readers are urged to consult RCR on any legal queries concerning a specific situation.

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