A home made will is one prepared by the willmaker themselves. Maybe using a “will kit” or something found online or a digital recording. However made a home-made will is composed without the services of a lawyer and the benefit of individual legal advice. This may seem an economical and convenient approach to will-making. While …
Testamentary freedom is being free to dispose of your property how and to whom you wish. One Supreme Court judge said that this freedom of testamentary disposition is a “prominent feature of the Australian legal system. Its significance is both practical and symbolic and should not be underestimated.”1
Of course like all freedoms it should be used reasonably.
Sometimes an unsigned will is left in situations where the willmaker, in consultation with lawyers, has been in the process of making a new will, but died before the requirements to make a valid legal document were completed. Why an unsigned will? Leaving such a testamentary document raises important questions. Did the deceased approve of …
Why sever a joint tenancy? Severing a joint tenancy is relevant to joint co-owners passing on their property interests to their chosen descendants. Owning property with others in co-ownership can be either as joint tenants or tenants in common. The consequences of who inherits a co-owner’s share on death are different. It is important to …
The legal formalities to make a valid will require the will-maker to sign their will in the presence of at least two people, acting as formal witnesses to the event.
Signing a will in front of witnesses fulfils a protective function. Can anyone witness or attest the signing of a will? And what must they do? Read more >>
Illegitimate children are those born outside of marriage, or out of wedlock, in older terminology. These days the word “illegitimate” has largely been replaced in law by the term “ex-nuptial” – nuptial referring to marriage. Either way, can an ex-nuptial child inherit from their natural parents? Or contest a natural parent’s will for provision out of their estate? What if no will was left?
A codicil is a short additional document, typically one or two pages, used to make a minor alteration to an existing will. Both the will and the codicil documents together form the “will” of the person. To be legally valid the codicil document must be signed and executed in front of witnesses in the same way as for a will.
A codicil is a convenient way to change an executor or trustee named in a will. For example in a situation where someone appointed as an executor has died a codicil can be used to replace them with someone else who is willing to act when the time comes. Read more.
Updating a will might seem a troublesome chore, but circumstances can change from the time it was made. The changes might produce unintended and unwanted outcomes in the event of death. Therefore reviewing a will is important to keep its contents in line with intentions. Regularly reviewing your will is important so it reflects your intentions.
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.