A will is a legal document setting out who gets part or all of a person’s property when they die. Such property is called your ‘estate’. A badly written will often leads to delays and it is best to use a lawyer if you can, rather than writing your own will.
It is important to make a will so that, after your death, your property is distributed as you would have wished it to be. If you do not leave a will, your property will be distributed in a way laid down by the law, over which you have no control.
The requirements of a valid will are as follows:
- be in writing;
- be signed and witnessed on every page by yourself and two witnesses who are not included as beneficiaries in the will;
- nominate a valid executor (being over the age of 18 years), who is the person named in your will to ensure your requests are carried out;
- be clearly dated at the time of signing;
- state that it is the last will of the person making it, and give their address;
- nominate how to distribute your estate.
For more information on wills and how to write a will, see http://www.legalaid.wa.gov.au/InformationAboutTheLaw/BirthLifeandDeath/Mattersafterdeath/Pages/Willsandrelatedmatters.aspx and/or http://www.cabwa.com.au/get-help/make-a-will. You can also contact the Public Trustee WA on 1300 746 116, which offers to draft a simple will for a small fee, or the Law Society of WA on (08) 9324 8600 for a referral to a lawyer who specialises in this area.