You’ve written your Will and outlined your beneficiaries and how you would like to distribute your estate. But before you rest easy, knowing that your family and loved ones are looked after, it’s important to make sure that your Will is legally valid.
In this blog, we’ll cover three critical legal requirements to review to ensure that your Will is legally valid, from start to finish.
Mental capacity to write a Will
As a Will is a legal document, the will-maker must have the mental capacity of an adult. This means that they are not suffering from any long term illness or injury that would affect their ability to write or understand the nature of the document.
The will-maker must also be recognised as a legal adult by the law and be over the age of 18.
Format of your Will
In Australia, your Will must be in a written format and signed by the Will-maker and two legally recognised witnesses. This means that voice notes, videos or other visual forms are not accepted and cannot be used for estate management processes such as Probate. While video messages and other messages can be a great way to explain your final wishes and decisions to your loved ones, they cannot be considered legally binding.
In Australia, there are a number of ways to write your Will; this can include DIY Kits from the Post office, visiting a solicitor or writing your Will online through a platform such as Willed. These are all legally valid options; however they can differ significantly in price, time and level of personalisation.
Signing your Will
The final part of writing a legally valid Will is ensuring that it has been signed correctly. If you do not sign your Will, it cannot be considered legally binding and cannot be used to distribute your estate!
A legal Will requires a minimum of three signatures
- The Will-maker
- Two legally recognised witnesses
As the Will-maker, you must sign your Will in the presence of at least two witnesses, and this will confirm that you intend this document to be final and legally binding.
If you leave your Will unsigned, the Court may interpret that you were not satisfied with the document and intended to make changes at a later date. This can impact your loved ones and the division of your estate once you have passed.
Having conversations or recording your thoughts about who should inherit your estate are great ways to start the process of writing your Wil, but it’s important to understand that these cannot be considered as legally binding. Writing a legally binding Will and ensuring that it is signed is the best way to ensure that your loved ones and your estate are protected and looked after.
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.