How to Write a Will
Wills & Estates
Justice Family Lawyers Sydney
If you want to know how to write a will, follow this article and understand the simple process that every Australian over the age of 18 should consider doing (if you haven’t already).
Even if you’ve never considered making a will before, you probably know some basic things about a will, perhaps just from watching TV and films.
A will allows you to state your wishes after you die so that your property and assets are given to the people you choose and your funeral is carried out according to your preferences.
Regardless of having this knowledge, you may still be left wondering how to write a will.
This article covers all the ins and outs of will-making to ensure you will is legal, easy to make and won’t cost you an arm and a leg.
Step 1 – check you are eligible to write a will
Anyone in Australia who is over the age of 18 years can make a will as long as they have the mental capacity to understand the implications of what they are writing.
If a will-maker’s mental capacity is in doubt, they can be assessed by a medical professional such as a doctor, psychologist or psychiatrist.
This professional must consider the will-maker to have what is called ‘testamentary capacity‘ for the will to be deemed legal at the time of death.
Step 2 – the contents of your will must be written
For your will to be considered valid, it must be in writing: either handwritten or typed.
It will not be considered a valid will if it was verbally said to another person.
The basic format of a will has the following elements:
- Revoking all previous wills that you have made
- Appointing the executor of the will
- Deciding who the beneficiaries of the estate will be, and what portion each beneficiary shall receive
- Any further requests, such as what shall happen if an executor or beneficiary becomes deceased before you
Step 3 – your will must be signed
Your will must be signed by you and two witnesses who have witnessed you sign the will.
The witnesses must not be named in the will to receive any entitlements
Step 4 – tell the relevant people about your will
You should advise your executor that you have appointed them as an executor of your will, and let them know where the will can be found when you are deceased.
You may also want to discuss the contents of your will with the beneficiaries, however, this is up to you.
How to write a will – finalise it by having it checked over
While fulfilling these guidelines will most likely deem your will valid, there are several other implications to take into account when drafting a will.
It is essential to think carefully about whether you will make your will yourself, use a DIY kit or employ a legal professional to prepare it for you.
DIY Will Kits vs Will Lawyers
Do It Yourself Will Kits have become increasingly popular in Australia over recent years, with a simple Google search offering pages of DIY Will Kit options.
While a DIY kit may seem like a simple and affordable option, these kits often arrive at your home (or inbox) without any further legal advice.
They are also usually ‘one size fits all’ and may not include the specific laws for your state.
Your will is probably the most important document you are going to make in your life, so why leave it to chance?