What makes a Will valid? Do I need to complete my Will with a lawyer for it to be valid?
While there are a few things to check off for a legal Will, they don’t include having a lawyer write the document or be present when you sign it.
To officially finalise your legally binding Will, ensure you have two independent individuals (over the age of 18) witness you signing each page of your Will – including the all-important very last page. Your witnesses then need to sign each page of your Will too. Your witnesses must use exactly the same pen you used to sign your Will. Done! It’s that easy!
Below are some key items you need have in place in order for your Will to be a valid legal document.
A Will can only be valid if you, the testator or testatrix, are of sound mind at the time of writing and signing it. In other words, you must be conscious and aware of and understand the action you are undertaking in executing your Will. A testator is a male signing a Will and a testatrix is a female signing a Will.
For a legal Will, you need to know what a Will is and the implications it has, in order for the Will to be valid. Children under 18 years of age are prohibited from writing a Will.
In addition, you need to have an understanding of what you are leaving in the Will – not the exact value, but a familiarity with the assets.
This also includes any debts and reasonable claims that could be made against your property, such as knowing who your financial dependents are and whom would deserve a what share of your property.
Of Your Own Free Will
If you were under duress or a situation of coercion at the time of writing and signing your Will, or otherwise facing threats and fraud, this will invalidate your Will.
A disorder of the mind or a sane delusion will also preclude your Will from being valid.
This is the first and most important aspect of what makes a Will valid. Any contestation to your Will after you’ve passed on is likely to be about lack of capacity.
Keep in mind that how the Will was written doesn’t affect whether it can be contested, only the actual contents of the Will. Whether you paid for the most expensive Will lawyer in Australia, or wrote it online yourself, either way a Will can be contested.
Signed & Witnessed
For a Will to be valid, the document the physical copy is required – you must have the original to apply for probate so a physical copy is necessary.
It also needs to be dated and signed in the presence of two or more witnesses. This means the Will needs to be printed off so you can sign it and have it witnessed accordingly.
While the witnesses don’t need to read the document, they need to watch you sign it, and then sign it themselves. Make sure all three (or more) of you sign using the same pen. If there are multiple pages to the Will document, put the signatures at the foot of each page.
In most states in Australia, you have to choose witnesses who will not be beneficiaries of the Will, to avoid any conflict of interest.
Create Your Legal Will Online
Whether you’ve hired an estate planning lawyer to draw up your Will, or are relying on an online Will or a Will and Testament kit – please consider the below.
The first step to making your Will valid is to write it in the first place. For true peace of mind, take a moment to create your online Will.
Fast, hassle-free and affordable, online Wills are taking off as the preferred way for Australians to write their Will and secure their future.
With Your Wills, you can have your Will written in a matter of minutes. From start to finish, you can complete your Will in only 9 steps. Through our partnership with SLF Lawyers, you can rest in peace that your Will will be legally valid and executed the way you intend it by following the relevant prompts online.
Get started today with Your Wills.
Secure your legal will today with Your Wills.