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100507 Making a Will NEW 22/8/05 8:34 AM Page 1

FURTHER INFORMATION LEGAL AID


INFOLINE:
Persons unable to sign a Will seek legal advice about their Will and consider making a General Enquiries -1300 650 579
TTY (for the hearing impaired) -1800 241 216
new Will to cover their changed circumstances.
The law makes special provision for persons who are
unable to sign a Will. If you are such a person, you should
consult a solicitor before making a Will.
Divorce does not cancel a Will. You may wish to consider
making a new Will after you are divorced.
www.legalaid.wa.gov.au
PERTH OFFICE
Making
55 St Georges Terrace, Perth, WA 6000

Codicils
A codicil is a legal document that is used to alter
Complex Wills
The drafting of a Will becomes more complicated as more
GOLDFIELDS REGIONAL OFFICE
Suite 3, 120 Egan Street, Kalgoorlie, WA 6430 A Will
GREAT SOUTHERN REGIONAL OFFICE
something in an earlier Will. People may use a codicil situations are covered. PO Box 5510 Albany WA 6332
instead of making a new Will. A codicil must comply with Any Will more complicated than a simple Will should be SOUTHWEST REGIONAL OFFICE
Know your Rights
all the legal formalities of a Will. given to a solicitor to draft. Koombana Court, 141 Victoria Street, Bunbury, WA 6230

Codicils can cause problems. Legal Aid WA does not Examples of matters that may make a Will more complicated FREMANTLE REGIONAL OFFICE
Shop 7, Queensgate Centre, William Street
recommend the use of codicils. Get legal advice. are: Fremantle, WA 6160
• The estate is large MIDLAND REGIONAL OFFICE
Storage of your Will • A business partnership, company or family trust is DOLA Building,Cnr Midland Square and The Avenue,
Midland, WA 6056
Your Will must be kept in a safe place such as with your involved
bank or your lawyer. You should tell your executor where KIMBERLEY REGIONAL OFFICE
• Transfer of property other than the family home 40 Dampier Terrace, Broome, WA 6725
you’re Will is kept. • Remarriage
PILBARA REGIONAL OFFICE
• Children from more than one relationship 28 Throssell Road, South Hedland, WA 6722
Marriage or Divorce of Testator/Testatix
• People involved live overseas CHRISTMAS/COCOS ISLANDS OFFICE
If you marry after you have made a Will, your marriage may • Property is located overseas Administration Building Gaze Road,
Christmas Island, Indian Ocean, WA 6798
have the effect of cancelling your Will. This could result in
This publication is prepared as a subsidiary to legal advice services.
a legal argument over your estate that could end up in the Questions This publication contains a summary of the law and is correct at the time of
publication. It is not legal advice. You should always seek legal advice about
courts. your individual situation. Any services referred to which are not operated by
Any queries or problems relating to your Will should be Legal Aid Western Australia are not endorsed or approved by Legal Aid
Western Australia.
If when you make your Will you are about to get married, discussed with your solicitor or call Legal Aid WA’s Infoline © Legal Aid Western Australia Publication date: 07/2005
a statement should be inserted stating that: on 1300 650 579 for further information. This publication may be copied, reproduced or adapted to meet local needs
by community based organisations without permission from Legal Aid
• the Will has been made in contemplation of your Western Australia provided the copies are distributed free or at cost (not for
profit) and the source is fully acknowledged. For any reproduction with
marriage and commercial ends, or by Government departments, permission must first be
obtained from Legal Aid Western Australia.
• naming the person you intend to marry.
If you then marry that person your Will is not revoked.
People who have married after making their Will should
100507 Making a Will NEW 22/8/05 8:34 AM Page 2

Making A Will
If the Will does not properly look after a person that you had a Other Considerations You must sign the Will in front of all the witnesses and they
A Will is one of the most important duty to provide for, that person can apply to the Supreme must sign the Will in front of you and in front of each other.
You may wish to make special arrangements for a number of
documents you will ever sign. A badly written Court. In some cases, the Supreme Court can change the
things, for example: It is important for the Will to include a statement saying
Will often leads to delays and disputes. distribution of your property after your death.
• disposal of your body or organ transplants • that the Testator/Testatrix signed in the presence of two
Where possible it is best to obtain the For more information about this power of the Supreme Court
• payment of your executor or more witnesses and
and when it can be used get legal advice.
services of a solicitor rather than drafting your • the witnesses signed in his/her presence.
An information sheet called, ‘Challenging an Unfair Will’ • the occupation of your home
own Will.
provides information about the law in this area. The sheet is • the release of a debt owing to you Without this special statement called an ‘attestation
available from Legal Aid WA offices. • a gift to charity. clause’ the Will is still valid, but the job of the executor
Why make a Will? becomes difficult and time consuming.
You can generally write these things in ordinary language so
The most important reason for making a Will is to make sure Property Wills should be signed at the end. It is best to sign immediately
that they can be understood.
that, after your death, your property is distributed in the way at the end of the wording, leaving no room for additions.
In your Will, you may leave specific items of personal property
you wished it to be. If you are in any doubt you should see a solicitor.
or real estate or specific sums of money to particular people. Where there is more than one page, you and each of the
If you do not leave a Will, there are laws that cover how your If you are the parent of a child, you may wish to appoint witnesses should sign at the bottom of each page. Unless
While it is not necessary to list every item, your Will should
property will be distributed. someone to be the guardian of that child after your death. this is done, there may be problems in proving the Will.
deal with all your property. The best way to do this is to use
You can include this but not all appointments are effective.
Another important reason for making a Will is to appoint your expressions such as “all of my property of whatever kind” or “all Alterations can be made any time after the Will is written
Get legal advice.
‘executor’. The executor is the person named in your Will to my remaining property of whatever kind”. and before it is signed. You and your witnesses should sign
ensure that all of your requests are carried out. If your Will fails to deal with all your property, the part that is each alteration.
Signatures on a Will
not dealt with will be divided among your relatives according
Blind people are not able to witness the signature on a Will.
Making a Will to law. This may not be in accordance with your wishes. When making your Will, you must sign it in the actual
presence of at least two witnesses over the age of 18.
Most newsagents sell Will forms. This standard form is useful Check list
because it helps you to remember the essential points to The executor Legal Aid WA strongly recommends that the following
include in your Will. people do not witness the Will: Remember to:
The executor has a very important role. It is not necessary for
A valid Will must be in writing and must be signed and an executor to have any special qualifications, but they must be • beneficiaries, and • state your full name, address and occupation on your Will
witnessed correctly. • the spouse or de facto partner of a beneficiary. • ensure the Will is clearly dated
• a responsible person
The document should say that it is the Will of the person • state the full name and address/es of your executor/s
• over the age of eighteen years The witnesses:
making it - the ‘Testator’ or, if it is a woman, the ‘Testatrix’ - • add the attestation clause
• someone you believe will carry out his/her duties properly. • must sign and add their complete name, address and
and should give their address and occupation. • never attach or pin anything to a Will
Get the consent of the person you wish to appoint as executor occupation
Clearly dating the document is important because the most • never erase any part of a Will
because they do not have to accept the position. • must not sign unless they have actually seen you sign
recent Will automatically cancels and replaces any earlier Will. the Will. • keep your Will in a safe place and ensure your executor
Make sure that an alternative executor is available and refer to
It is not essential for you to include your marital status. The maker of the Will and the witnesses must all remain knows where that is.
this person in your Will. This is in case the first executor
refuses to accept the appointment after your death. together during the signing of the Will.
Think carefully about whom to leave things to in your Will.