Do beneficiaries of a Will have any rights?

What is a beneficiary?

What is a beneficiary?

A beneficiary is a person who has been named to inherit in a Will. This person may be left property, land, or money in the deceased’s Will. 

What are my rights as a beneficiary?

As a beneficiary of a Will, you will only have legal rights on your share of the estate but only once the estate has been administered. Although you are entitled to receive updates on the progress of the administration of the estate. 

A beneficiary is entitled to be told if they are named in a person’s will. They are also entitled to be told what, if any, property/possessions have been left to them, and the full amount of inheritance they will receive. However, they are not entitled to receive this inheritance until probate has been conducted and any assets or finances have been encashed or transferred into their name. 

The person who will be administering the estate is known as the executor. The executor, or executors, if there are more than one, should keep a careful account of the estate so that it can be provided to the beneficiaries should they ask to see it. 

When can I see the Will?

Once the grant of probate has been issued, then the Will becomes a public document and you are able to see the Will and its contents. However, if you wish to see the Will before this time, you can ask the executor(s) who will most likely let you see the Will. However, on rare occasions they may not let you as they technically do not have to until probate has been granted. 

Can I contest the Will?

Can I contest the Will? 

This is a separate issue to the rights of a beneficiary. However, it can be done if there is doubt if the Will was executed correctly, if you fear the Will may be a forgery or if the deceased lacked the mental capacity at the time of writing the Will.   

Are there any common issues that beneficiaries may face? 

Some issues that beneficiaries may face can arise if they feel the executor is not progressing probate fast enough, or is not providing updates on what is happening or being unclear in their updates. 

Issues that may arise include:

  • A delay in applying for probate
  • A delay in administering the estate once probate has been granted 
  • A lack of information provided
  • Non disclosure of accounts

How long will it take until I receive my inheritance?

The answer to this will depend on each individual situation as probate can be complicated and take a long time to finalise and administer everything. 

Before an executor can administer any inheritance, any outstanding debts from the estate need to be paid. Depending on if there are/how many debts there are, may delay the process.

If the executor is waiting on the sale of a property after which the value of the property will be shared amongst several beneficiaries, this can also add time onto the process. 

If you are unsure about the process, or believe an executor is taking too long in administering the estate, then please do get in touch and we will be able to help.

For more information on wills, please visit our pages on wills here.

Or speak to one of our specialist legal team on 0800 614 722.