Overview

The Will is an important document as it outlines the deceased person’s final wishes. You should ascertain if:
  • a Will is in place and you can locate it;
  • a pre-arranged funeral, pre-paid funeral plan or funeral insurance is in place;
  • you can make an informed decision on how to progress with the body transport from the home, hospital or nursing home without incurring unnecessary costs; and
  • you can secure other important documents whilst looking for the Will.

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4.1 Check if a Will is in Place & Locate It

First of all, you will need to find out if the deceased person put a Will in place and where this may be located. The spouse, de facto partner, children aged 18 and over, parents, siblings or the Executor (person nominated in the Will to administer the deceased estate) may be able to help with this.

If you are unsure where the Will may be located, you should check:
  • filing cabinets at the deceased person’s home
  • filing cabinets at the deceased person’s office
  • a Next of Kin’s home
  • a safe in the home
  • a bank deposit box
  • the State/Territory’s Public Trustee (WA – Will Bank , NSW – Will Safe, VIC – Will Bank)
  • files with an accountant
  • files with a lawyer
  • the Will Registry

If the Will is stored by someone else, you may need to use the copy of the Will to prove the death until you receive the Death Certificate (see Step 8 – Apply for the Death Certificate) allowing you to obtain the original Will.

4.2 What if There are Multiple Wills

There may be instances where multiple Wills or multiple versions of Wills are found. It will be crucial to determine which of the Wills is valid and to be used for the estate administration process.

If you are unsure which Will is valid, it is recommended that you seek legal advice from one of our carefully selected Trusted Partners near you. Their contact details are listed below.

4.3 What if There is no Will

If you have determined that no Will is in place and this is confirmed by family members, then you should still check if any pre-arranged funeral, pre-paid funeral or funeral insurance plans are in place as outlined below.

Note: Where no Will is in place, it is said to be an Intestate estate and will be administered according to the legislation and rules in the relevant State/Territory.

4.4 Check for Pre-Arranged Funeral Provisions

Some commonly known providers for pre-arranged funeral, pre-paid funeral plan or funeral insurance in Australia are:
  • AIA Funeral Insurance
  • American Express
  • ANZ
  • Apia
  • Real Insurance
  • Choosi
  • Australian Seniors
  • Insuranceline
  • Zurich
  • Many Funeral Directors also offer such arrangements

4.4.1 If a Will is in Place

After locating the Will, you will be able to search for references to any pre-arranged funeral, pre-paid funeral plan or funeral insurance and with which provider.
It will be worthwhile also checking who the Executor nominated in the Will is for the next Step 5 – Duties of an Executor & How to Determine the Executor or Administrator and for the Executor to hold on to the Will.

The deceased person may have drafted a Will a while ago and as time went on changes were required to amend certain clauses or entire sections of a Will. This can either be achieved by drafting a new Will completely or draft a Codicil, which is a supplementary document to the Will. If a Codicil is in place, the Will and the Codicil(s) will need to be provided.

4.4.2 If no Will is in Place

If no Will was found and the Next of Kin or family confirms that no Will is in place, look for documents of pre-arranged funeral, pre-paid funeral plan or funeral insurance providers such as policy documents, letters, invoices or business cards.

4.5 Contact the Funeral Insurance or Funeral Provider

If you have successfully located the provider, you should contact them to inform them of the death and check what services are covered, especially the transportation of the body at this point in time. Also check which provider you can choose from if specified or what restrictions and limits you need to be aware of when you work through Step 6 – Organise Transportation of the Body.

4.6 Secure Other Documents

As you are looking for the Will and pre-arranged funeral, pre-paid funeral plan or funeral insurance documents, we recommend that you take all other relevant documents that may be important for the deceased estate administration into your custody if you will be the likely Executor or Administrator. Download our Important Documents Checklist to find out about the most commonly used documents you will need.


Complete Step

Actions and Decisions to Complete Step Yourself

If you have decided to tackle this Step yourself after reading and understanding the above, you may want to:

  1. Find out if a Will is in place and locate it
    (see Step 4.1 above);
  2. Where multiple Wills can be found, determine which Will is the valid Will
    (see Step 4.2 above);
  3. Check the Will or other documents where you could not find a Will about any pre-arranged funeral, pre-paid funeral plan or funeral insurances
    (see Step 4.4 above);
  4. Contact the insurance or funeral provider about the arrangement and request if the body transport is included based on your situation
    (see Step 4.5 above);
  5. Prepare the transportation of the deceased person’s body as outlined in Step 6 – Organise Transportation of the Body; and
  6. Secure other important documents that you have found whilst looking for the Will
    (see Step 4.6 above).

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Information

Forms

Legislation

New South Wales (NSW) – Sydney change State
Victoria (VIC) – Melbourne change State
Queensland (QLD) – Brisbane change State

Cost & Effort

Reading: 15 mins
Preparing: 30 mins
Completing: 1-2 hrs
Total: 1:45-2:45 hrs
Cost: $0

Effort and cost are general estimates only and are based on the assumption that you complete this step without experienced support.

Instructions

To find out how this Process Guide works, access the instructions here.

Glossary

To find out what the capitalised words mean, access the glossary here.

New South Wales (NSW) – Sydney change State
Victoria (VIC) – Melbourne change State
Queensland (QLD) – Brisbane change State

Forms

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Other forms not listed here may be required based on your specific circumstances.

Checklists & Tools

Download the Important Documents Checklist to find out about the most commonly used documents you will need.
New South Wales (NSW) – Sydney change State
Victoria (VIC) – Melbourne change State
Queensland (QLD) – Brisbane change State

Legislation & Rules

N/A

N/A

N/A

Other legislation and rules not listed here may apply to your specific circumstances.


Ask for Support

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Executor & Administrator Support

If you are still unsure about this Step or if you should engage a lawyer, we’re only a phone call away to point you in the right direction. See how simplyEstate can help.

Trusted Partner Support

When you need specific expertise, get in touch with our trusted partners near you.

New South Wales (NSW) – Sydney change State
Victoria (VIC) – Melbourne change State
Queensland (QLD) – Brisbane change State

Estate & Probate Lawyers Sydney

apply for grant of probate or letters of administration with support from Marsdens Law Group in Sydney Camden Campbelltown Leppington Liverpool New South Wales NSW

Marsdens Law Group

Camden, Campbelltown, Leppington, Liverpool, Sydney CBD

We can help with:
  • establishing validity of a Will
  • determining the Executors or Administrators (without a Will)
  • administering end-to-end
Find out if we can help during an obligation free phone consultation. Find Out More
apply for grant of probate or letters of administration with support from Atkinson Vinden Lawyers in Chatswood Sydney New South Wales NSW

Atkinson Vinden Legal

Chatswood & Sydney CBD

We can help with:
  • establishing validity of a Will
  • determining the Executors or Administrators (without a Will)
  • administering end-to-end
Find out if we can help during an obligation free phone consultation. Find Out More
apply for grant of probate or letters of administration with support from Szabo and Associates Solicitors in Surry Hills Sydney New South Wales NSW

Szabo & Associates Solicitors

Surry Hills, Eastern Suburbs & North Shore

We can help with:
  • establishing validity of a Will
  • determining the Executors or Administrators (without a Will)
  • administering end-to-end
Find out if we can help during an obligation free phone consultation. Find Out More

Estate & Probate Lawyers Melbourne

apply for grant of probate or letters of administration with support from McNab McNab & Starke Lawyers in Melbourne Essendon Sunbury VIC

McNab McNab & Starke

Melbourne CBD, Essendon & Sunbury

We can help with:
  • establishing validity of a Will
  • determining the Executors or Administrators (without a Will)
  • administering end-to-end

Find out if we can help during an obligation free phone consultation.

Find Out More
apply for grant of probate or letters of administration with support from Sharrock Pitman Legal in Glen Waverley Victoria VIC

Sharrock Pitman Legal

Glen Waverley

Our Accredited Specialist can help with:
  • establishing validity of a Will
  • determining the Executors or Administrators (without a Will)
  • administering end-to-end

Find out if we can help during an obligation free phone consultation.

Find Out More

apply for grant of probate or letters of administration with support from Carew Counsel Solicitors in Melbourne Victoria VIC

Carew Counsel

Melbourne CBD

We can help with:
  • establishing validity of a Will
  • determining the Executors or Administrators (without a Will)
  • administering end-to-end

Find out if we can help during an obligation free phone consultation.

Find Out More

Estate & Probate Lawyers Brisbane

apply for grant of probate or letters of administration with support from Perspective Law in Brisbane QLD

Perspective Law

Brisbane

We can help with:
  • establishing validity of a Will
  • determining the Executors or Administrators (without a Will)
  • administering end-to-end

Find out if we can help during an obligation free phone consultation.

Find Out More

apply for grant of probate or letters of administration with support from The Estate Lawyers in Brisbane Gold Coast QLD

The Estate Lawyers

Brisbane CBD & Gold Coast

We can help with:
  • establishing validity of a Will
  • determining the Executors or Administrators (without a Will)
  • administering end-to-end

Find out if we can help during an obligation free phone consultation.

Find Out More

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