Rights of Beneficiaries

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If you’re the beneficiary of a deceased loved one’s estate, the last thing you want to think about is the assets and belongings left to you. But as a beneficiary, you also don’t want to be kept in the dark. This is why it is important to know the rights of beneficiaries of a Will in NSW. Keep reading to learn more or speak to one of our Wills and estate lawyers if you have any questions about being the beneficiary of an estate.

a man looking into the rights of beneficiaries of a will nsw

A beneficiary is a person or an entity, (such as a charity), who is named in a Will as being entitled to receive all or part of a deceased person’s estate. So, as a beneficiary of a Will, what are my rights? We go into more detail down below.

So do beneficiaries have any rights, and what information is a beneficiary of a Will entitled to? Beneficiaries have the following rights:

  • To be informed that the deceased person did leave a Will
  • To receive a copy of the Will, at your request: a beneficiary, or someone who believes they should be, has the right to obtain a copy of the Will.
  • To be kept informed while the executors administer the estate: beneficiaries of a Will should be advised of any expected delays in distribution of the estate.
  • To receive their entitlement* within 12 months of the deceased’s death unless otherwise stipulated in the Will, or in extenuating circumstances that have been explained. As a beneficiary, you should also:
    • be told what your entitlement is and the expected timeframe for your receipt of it.
    • be advised of any liabilities, including debts and taxes against the deceased estate.
    • receive a Statement of Distribution explaining your entitlement and how it was determined.
  • To be informed of any legal proceedings against the deceased, or of any challenges to the Will. Another right of beneficiaries of a Will (NSW) is to be informed about any grants of probate.

*Where an estate is to be divided amongst adult offspring, for example, each beneficiary should be informed about the entire estate, its real estate, assets of the estate and liabilities.

However, if grandma has left you her Harley Davidson, and nothing more, then you only have the right to obtain information about the motorcycle: registration and insurance documents, outstanding loan, and so on. You are not entitled to be informed about the remainder of her estate.

At Owen Hodge, we’re here to help

Have further questions about the rights of beneficiaries of a Will NSW?

The administration of the estate can be a complicated and lengthy process, so we highly recommend speaking to an experienced Wills and estate planning lawyer. At Owen Hodge, we’re here to help you navigate this stressful and difficult time. Complete the contact form below or talk to us on 1800 770 780 to get in contact with one of our lawyers.

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Talk to a Wills & estate lawyer

Need help understanding the rights of beneficiaries of a Will NSW or have more questions? Get in touch today

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Wills & Estate Team

Alice Holman

Wills & Estate Planning Lawyer

Christine Vrahas

Estate Dispute and Litigation Lawyer

James Kelly

Partner, Wills and Probate Lawyer

Kristy Hatcher

Wills & Estate Litigation Lawyer

Kristy-Lee Burns

Family and Commercial Lawyer

Leigh Adams

Special Counsel and Accredited Specialist Business Lawyer

Louise Young

Paralegal

Sarah Hunter

Family, Estates & Commercial Lawyer

Richard Farmer

Commercial and Real Estate Lawyer

Karen Cho

Property Lawyer

Colin J Duff

Wills & Estate Planning Lawyer

Frequently asked questions

Even if you are already named as a beneficiary, this does not preclude you from challenging the Will if you believe that you have a greater entitlement. So yes, a beneficiary can contest a Will.

Learn more:

Compared to the rights of beneficiaries of a Will (NSW), you have two main rights as an executor:

  • Compensation for your services
  • The right to decline being executor

Learn more:

Beneficiaries of an estate are generally entitled to a right of inspection of the account that the executor is in turn obligated to maintain. This is set out in the New South Wales Trustee Act wherein a beneficiary has a right to access all information about the estate, as that is essentially the beneficiaries own property.