How Many Wills Can You Have in Australia?

To prevent confusion and disputes over inheritance, it’s better to have just one Will. This guide explains why having a single, clear Will is the best choice for avoiding problems in distributing your assets.
How Many Wills Can You Have in Australia?

We’ll start by answering the question that’s on everyone's mind: Yes, making a new Will usually automatically cancels your old one.

In Australia, you can change your Will as often as you like. You can amend your Will with a codicil (a legal document used to change a Will), but it is often considered best practice to make a new one if you’re going to make changes. 

What’s the point of having multiple Wills?

There are many reasons why someone would have multiple Wills – stemming from disputes with family members, thinking their Will was revoked, to forgetfulness due to dementia or other illnesses. 

It is typically only recommended that a testator creates multiple Wills if they own assets across different countries. However, complications can arise with multiple Wills which makes it advisable to stick to one.

To help clear things up in this area, here are 5 reasons why one Will is better for everyone.

Testatory capacity could come into question 

Drafting multiple Wills, especially over a short period, could indicate that a person was having difficulty deciding how to distribute their estate before they passed. This could be for various reasons, such as disputes with beneficiaries, a change in wealth, or the birth or death of family members. Basically, claimants may argue that producing several Wills in quick succession shows that the testator may not have been in the right state of mind when writing any of them.

Multiple Wills can cause delays with probate

Discrepancies among multiple Wills can lead to confusion and legal conflicts, potentially prolonging the probate process and raising concerns about the validity of your Will. 

Multiple Wills can cause extra stress for everyone involved

Multiple Will documents can place huge amounts of stress and create additional administrative tasks for both your appointed executors and the intended beneficiaries. Remember, these are the people the Wills were originally designed to help, so it’s probably not the testator’s desire to make things difficult.

Confusion over duties when Wills conflict

Listing multiple representatives in different Wills may lead to confusion regarding everyone’s duties and responsibilities. Cue a lengthy process with extra costs that could have very easily been avoided. 

You might accidentally revoke a Will

While you may be trying to supplement a Will, you may end up revoking it. This can make the most recent Will the only valid one. In turn, the probate court may disregard everything from your former Wills.

Wrap up

So, there you have it – 5 reasons why having just one Will is often advisable. To reduce stress and avoid a prolonged probate period (among several other reasons), it’s recommended to consult with a professional before mulling over the idea of multiple Wills.

Need help writing your Will (or got a prickly question for us)? Contact the team at Willed today at 1300 945 533.

Disclaimer: The content of this blog is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. This blog should not be relied upon as legal, financial, accounting or tax advice.

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