Rights of Beneficiaries of a Will in NSW

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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 who is named in a Will as being entitled to receive all or part of a deceased person’s estate. Common beneficiaries include family members such as spouses, children, and grandchildren. However, beneficiaries can also include a person or a not-for-profit organisation, foundation or trust receiving a portion of the estate through a bequest. The key is that beneficiaries are explicitly named in the will and their share of the estate is outlined clearly and concisely.

So what are beneficiaries rights, and what information is a beneficiary of a Will entitled to?

To be informed that the deceased person did leave a Will

Beneficiaries have a right to be informed that the deceased person did leave a valid Will and that they are named as a beneficiary of that Will. This falls under the responsibilities of the executor of the 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, beneficiaries have a right to receive their entitlement within 12 months of the deceased’s death.

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

Beneficiaries have a right 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.

Get legal experts who can protect your rights as a beneficiary

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


Wills & Estate Team

Alice Holman

Wills & Estate Planning Lawyer

James Kelly

Wills and Probate Lawyer

Kristy Hatcher

Wills & Estate Litigation Lawyer

Kristy-Lee Burns

Partner, Family and Commercial Lawyer

Louise Young


Richard Farmer

Commercial and Real Estate Lawyer

Karen Cho

Property Lawyer

Colin J Duff

Wills & Estate Planning Lawyer

Frequently asked questions

The legislation related to contesting a Will and challenging a Will does vary between states in Australia, so it is important to ensure you receive advice relevant to you.

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 owned property.