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NSW Beneficiaries of Mother's Will - What are Our Rights?

Discussion in 'Wills and Estate Planning Law Forum' started by Gemini, 25 August 2015.

  1. Gemini

    Gemini Member

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    Along with my brother, I am a beneficiary of our mother's will. Our other brother is the executor of will. As the executor, he has failed to keep us informed of the progress of the will.

    I understand that he has the final say of the decision making, however we have sent a letter to the solicitor representing our mother, requesting some information on the progress, including the costs and income of the estate and the estimated time and amount of distribution. Our requests are being ignored with continued stonewalling from the executor and the solicitor.

    Are my brother and I out of line with our request and what are our rights as beneficiaries please?

    Thank you.
     
  2. Tim W

    Tim W Lawyer

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    It varies.

    For example, if the lawyer is actually the executor, then any beneficiary might reasonably talk to them.

    But if the lawyer is engaged by the executor, then the executor is the lawyer's client.
    In this latter case, it is more appropriate for the beneficiaries to deal with the executor.
     
  3. Gemini

    Gemini Member

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    Thank you for your reply. Much appreciated.
     
  4. Sophea

    Sophea Well-Known Member

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    Hi Gemini,

    Have a read of this article:
    Are You a Beneficiary of a Will? Know Your Rights [QLD] - Legal Blog - LawAnswers.com.au

    As you have acknowledged, the executor is not required to justify all his judgements and decisions to beneficiaries as to how he or she has administered the estate however he or she must:
    • follow the terms of the Will.
    • look after and maintain the assets
    • keep all necessary records and accounts and,
    • keep the beneficiaries fully informed.
    Based on what you have stated, I don't think what you have requested from the executor or solicitor is unreasonable. However, short of getting the court to compel production of records etc, (a costly and stressful exercise which will almost certainly affect the family relationships concerned), there's not a lot you can do apart from persisting in trying to contact them and politely requesting the information you require.

    Beneficiaries generally have the right to receive their inheritance within 12 months of the date of death, provided the will does not state otherwise, and at the time you receive your inheritance you are required to be provided with a Statement of Distribution which sets out how your inheritance was calculated.
     

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