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Ask Deborah Awyzio Your Own Question
Deborah Awyzio
Deborah Awyzio, Solicitor
Category: Australia Law
Satisfied Customers: 863
Experience:  Bachelor of Laws (QUT), BIT (QUT), Family Law Accredited Specialist, over 12 years experience
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I'm in Victoria and my mum just passed away. I cannot find

Customer Question

Hi, I'm in Victoria and my mum just passed away. I cannot find her will and she considered me her only child even though I have a sister. The only asset she had was her car and that is of no importance to me but Mum's explicit wishes were for me to organise the plaque on her burial plot. I'm terrified my sister will make waves. Can you advise me what I'm obligated to do by law please? My mother and sister have been estranged for 20 years. This is adding so much distress to an already challenging time.
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Australia Law
Expert:  James D. Ford replied 1 year ago.

Hi,

Do you know if she had a lawyer? check with the local lawyers in her suburb (if any) or the closest by distance.. (if you are unsure) or anyone you know who she may have asked to witness her Will... or be Executor for her Will?

Do you know whether she definitely had a Will?

How long ago did she pass away? I assume it was recently... my condolences.

If a Will is found, then the Executor needs to abide by her wishes as stated in the Will.

If no Will is found... then it is difficult to determine her burial wishes... which is what you are most concerned there will be a dispute over...

The law sets out who gets what financially in an intestate estate (which is what an estate with no Will is called).

Kind regards,

James

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Thanks James for your quick response. My mother passed two days ago and has a prearranged funeral planned with written stipulations that only I make decisions regarding certain aspects of it. There are no concerns with where she will be buried but after visiting the cemeteries trust my understanding is that only the executor can organise the plaque/headstone for the plot that is in my mothers name. I am actually on record with Centrelink as her carer and she had little of value in the form of assets and no money or investments. She suffered a lot of grief and loss in her life and the wording on her grave was extremely important to her. I'm concerned that I won't be able to sort out her affairs without a will that cannot be found. She did not use legal or financial services and no other family or friends. She assumed I had a copy of her will and I assumed she did but I cannot find one in amongst her belongings or mine (only copies of her funeral arrangements). What is my legal position if any and how do I proceed? Thank you.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Are you still there?
Expert:  James D. Ford replied 1 year ago.

Hi, Yes... apologies for the delay... I have just been dealing with other matters this morning.

What specifically do the prearranged funeral plans state about the plaque/headstone? what is still required to be arranged? the wording? approval to proceed? deciding on the size and materials?

If there is no Will, then there is no Executor.. have the cemeteries trust been advised that there is no Will?

Kind regards,

James