Elder abuse can take different forms. It can range across financial, psychological, physical and emotional neglect causing harm and distress to the older person. It may be intentional or not. Critical issues having potential to generate abuse of older ones involve legal capacity, and undue influence in entering into guarantees for family members and others, and reverse mortgages. Carers misusing their influence is another area. Financial abuse can surface in various ways, one in particular is placing pressure on an older person to make or change their will.
Leaving a legally valid will is important for it to be effective. A will documents a person’s intentions for what they want to have happen when they die. To make a legally valid will means complying with all the prescribed legal requirements. Making a valid will according to law is important to its effectiveness. Who else needs to sign a will?
A will documents a person’s intentions for what they want to have happen when they die, see What is a will. It contains their instructions on who is to inherit their property and how, who will administer its disposal and any preferred arrangements for their funeral. If their intentions are to be legally effective, and ultimately put into effect, the will needs to be valid and comply with the legal rules.
To make a will a person must be an adult and have the required mental capacity.
A will made by a minor, being under 18, is generally invalid under State and Territory wills and succession legislation.
Exceptions relate to contemplation of marriage, or altering or cancelling a prior will. If the contemplated marriage does not take place, the will is invalid. The court may authorise a minor to make, alter or cancel a will.