What is a will?

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A will is a testamentary document

A will is a legal document, often referred to by lawyers as an ‘instrument’, setting out what a person intends to have happen to their property, (real and personal), and other matters, when they die.  It is the legal way to record a person’s instructions and wishes on how they want their property distributed on the event of their death, and who is to responsible for carrying out those wishes.  Because it is to take effect only on death, a will is referred to as being ‘testamentary’.  A testamentary document or instrument is one which its writer intends, at the time of writing it, to come into effect when they die, and not before.  More

Who can make a will?

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By B Stead

Who can make a will to dispose of their property?

Those who can make a will, change or cancel (revoke) a will under state and territory legislation must:

  • be an adult, (18 years and over); and
  • have the required mental capacity in regard to their testamentary intentions, meaning:
    • know (generally) what they own;
    • who they want to give it to, any dependents to be provided for;
    • be able to weigh up the consequences of their choices, potential claims;
    • understand that what they are doing is disposing of their property on death and its effects;
    • understand that on signing their will document, what it states will become enforceable when they die.

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