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A Will is a written document in which you state how you want your property distributed after you die. It also allows you to nominate an executor, who is the person responsible for making sure your wishes are carried out.

What happens if I die without a Will?

If you die without having made a Will, you are said to have died "intestate". Your estate is then divided under certain government made rules. This often causes many significant and unintended consequences and can lead to costly disputes.

Who can make a Will?

Generally any person who is over 18 years of age and of sound mind can make a Will.

Formal requirements for making a Will

As the formal requirements for making a valid will must be strictly adhered to, it is recommend that you have your will drawn up professionally by a solicitor.

The requirements for a Will to be valid include:

  • the Will must be in writing;
  • the Will must be signed by the Will maker; and
  • the Will maker's signature must be witnessed by two witnesses. (A beneficiary or their spouse should not witness a will. If they do they may lose their entitlements under that will).

What should be in a Will?

Your Will should specify that it is your last Will and that you revoke any previous Will. It should appoint one or more persons to be your executor. Wills often include directions for funeral arrangements and the appointment of a guardian to look after infant children.

Your will should provide for payment of your funeral expenses and debts. It should detail how you want your property distributed, either by naming an item and to whom it is given, or by giving a person a certain amount or percentage of the total value of your property.


The executor is the person responsible for making sure your wishes are carried out. You can appoint more than one executor. This can assist if one executor dies or does not wish to act as executor. Therefore, whoever you choose to be your executor/s is an a very important decision.

Changing or updating a Will

Once a will has been signed, there should be no alteration, either by crossing out or writing in new clauses. Alterations will have no effect unless done in accordance with certain requirements. A Codicil is a document that can be prepared to alter a will. A codicil must also meet certain formal requirements to be valid and often it is preferable to prepare an entirely new Will.

How marriage, entering into a registered relationship or divorce affects your Will

Your Will is revoked when you get married or enter into a registered relationship. A Will stated to be in contemplation of marriage or a registered relationship however, is not revoked by the marriage or the entering into the registered relationship.

A divorce, contrary to what is commonly believed to be the case, does not revoke your Will.

The effect of marriage, registered relationships or divorce on a Will can be complex and you should seek legal advice regarding the impact marriage, entering into a registered relationship or divorce may have on your Will.

We can assist with your Will. Contact our team for an appointment today.

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