How do I make a Will?

How do I make a Will?
By Jamie Pouwhare

Once you’ve realised that making a Will is important…and it is… you might be left wondering ‘how do I make a Will?’

Making a Will doesn’t have to be complicated, especially with the help of a lawyer. The level of complication really depends on your personal circumstances. If the size and nature of your assets are more than the average person, then this may need to be dealt with differently and take extra consideration. If you are from a blended family, in a long term de facto relationship or have recently been divorced then it is important to discuss how these circumstances are best dealt with.

Before making a Will take the time to think about your assets and your family situation and decide how you want them to be dealt with after you pass. This will save you a lot of time when it comes to actually writing your Will.

There are formalities that must be followed to ensure the Will you make is valid. After all your Will deals with giving away your property at a time when you can no longer tell anyone exactly what you want to achieve. So it is important you get it right.

First and foremost, your Will must be in writing. This doesn’t mean you can pull a piece of paper out of your desk drawer and scribble down ‘…all to my children.’ Your wishes need to be carefully drafted because if they aren’t clear you may be leaving your Will open to being challenged or contested. This can have a significant impact on your loved ones emotionally and financially. Don’t try to do your Will on your own. Let someone with experience in drafting and an understanding of how words can be interpreted help you.

What you probably already know is that your Will must be signed by you as the testator. When you sign your Will you must have the intention of executing the Will. Otherwise your Will may be deemed invalid. It is important when making a Will that you have what is known as testamentary capacity. To have testamentary capacity you must:

  • understand what the Will does;
  • remember what property you own;
  • remember and give consideration to those that you would normally provide for under the will; and
  • you don’t suffer and delusions about anyone who would expect to benefit under your Will.

The Court may authorise a Will to be made, altered or revoked for a person without testamentary capacity. However, this is only in limited circumstances. The sooner you make your Will the less likely it is that this will pose a problem for you.

When you sign your Will you must have two witnesses. Both witnesses need to be present at the same time for your Will to be executed correctly. It is best when organising two people to witness your Will that they are not going to receive a benefit under the Will. This is because the benefit may become void. There are ways around this such as having at least two people witnessing the Will who won’t be gaining a benefit, or with all persons consenting in writing, or a Court determination. The easiest way you can avoid this situation is having your law firm execute your Will for you. There is always going to be two independent persons to witness your signature on the Will.

So ‘how do I make a Will?’ Easy, with the help of a lawyer, making your Will is a straightforward process. You won’t have to worry about getting something wrong or not understanding exactly what your Will should include. We can help you ensure that the process is quick, stress free and most importantly cost effective.