• 19
  • Feb
  • 2024
How to write a will Australia: Step-by-step guide

How to write a will Australia: Step-by-step guide

In Australia, writing a will is a crucial step in ensuring that your assets and wishes are managed and distributed according to your preferences after you pass away. A will serves as a legal document that outlines how your estate should be divided and who will inherit your belongings, finances, and property. Without a valid will in place, your assets may be distributed according to the laws of intestacy, which may not align with your wishes or the needs of your loved ones. Therefore, understanding how to write a will in Australia is essential for safeguarding your legacy and providing clarity and peace of mind for your family and beneficiaries. In this blog section, we will explore the key considerations and steps involved in drafting a will that accurately reflects your intentions and protects your assets for the future.

Understanding the Basics of Writing a Will in Australia

how to write a will Australia
how to write a will Australia

Writing a will is a fundamental aspect of estate planning that ensures your wishes are honored and your assets are distributed according to your desires after you pass away. Here’s what you need to know about writing a will in Australia:

Will and Its Significance

A will is a legal document that outlines how your estate should be managed and distributed upon your death. It allows you to specify who will inherit your assets, including property, finances, and personal belongings. A will enables you to appoint an executor who will be responsible for carrying out your wishes and administering your estate. By having a will in place, you can provide clarity and guidance for your loved ones during a challenging time, ensuring that your estate is distributed according to your intentions.

Legal Requirements for a Will to be Valid in Australia

To be legally valid in Australia, a will must meet certain requirements outlined in the relevant state or territory legislation. These requirements typically include being in writing, signed by the testator (the person making the will) and witnessed by two independent witnesses who are not beneficiaries or spouses of beneficiaries. The testator must have testamentary capacity, meaning they are of sound mind, understand the nature and effect of making a will, and are not unduly influenced by others.

Seeking Legal Advice

While it’s possible to draft a will without legal assistance, seeking advice from a qualified lawyer is highly recommended to ensure that your will is valid, clear, and legally binding. A lawyer can provide guidance on estate planning strategies, help you understand the legal implications of your decisions, and tailor your will to meet your specific needs and circumstances. A lawyer can assist with updating your will as your circumstances change over time, ensuring that it remains up-to-date and reflective of your wishes.

Preparing to Write Your Will

Before you begin drafting your will, it’s essential to take some time to prepare and gather the necessary information. Here’s how you can get started:

Identifying Your Assets and Liabilities

Start by making a comprehensive list of all your assets and liabilities. This may include properties, investments, bank accounts, vehicles, personal belongings, and any debts or loans you owe. Having a clear understanding of your financial situation will help you determine how you want your assets to be distributed and ensure that nothing is overlooked in your will.

Considering Your Beneficiaries and Their Needs

Next, consider who you want to include as beneficiaries in your will and how you would like your assets to be divided among them. Take into account the needs and circumstances of your beneficiaries, such as their financial stability, age, and relationship to you. You may also want to consider any specific gifts or bequests you wish to leave to certain individuals or organisations.

Choosing an Executor

An executor is responsible for carrying out your wishes as outlined in your will and administering your estate. It’s crucial to choose someone you trust and who is capable of handling the responsibilities involved. Your executor can be a family member, friend, or professional such as a lawyer or accountant. Make sure to discuss your decision with the chosen executor beforehand to ensure they are willing to take on the role.

Drafting Your Will – Step-by-Step Guide

how to write a will Australia
how to write a will Australia

Drafting your will is a crucial step in ensuring that your wishes are carried out and your assets are distributed according to your intentions. Here’s a step-by-step guide to help you navigate the process:

Step 1: Introduction and Personal Information

  • Naming Yourself and Stating Your Intent: Begin by clearly stating that you are of sound mind and intend to create a legally binding will.
  • Providing Personal Details: Include your full name, address, and any other identifying information to ensure clarity and accuracy.

Step 2: Declaration and Revocation of Previous Wills

  • Stating Your Soundness of Mind: Declare that you are of sound mind and are making the will of your own free will.
  • Intention to Revoke Previous Wills: Clearly state that you are revoking any previous wills and testamentary documents.

Step 3: Appointment of Executors

  • Naming Executor(s) and Alternate(s): Choose one or more trusted individuals to serve as your executor(s), who will be responsible for administering your estate.
  • Brief Description of Responsibilities: Provide a brief overview of the executor’s responsibilities, including managing assets, paying debts, and distributing inheritances.

Step 4: Distribution of Assets and Liabilities

  • Detailing How Assets and Liabilities Will Be Distributed: Clearly outline how you want your assets and liabilities to be distributed among your beneficiaries.
  • Ensuring Clarity and Specificity: Be specific and detailed in your instructions to avoid any ambiguity or confusion.

Step 5: Special Bequests and Conditions

  • Including Specific Gifts or Conditions: If you have specific items or conditions you wish to include in your will, such as sentimental possessions or charitable donations, clearly specify them.
  • Ensuring Feasibility and Legality: Make sure that any special bequests or conditions are feasible and legally enforceable.

Step 6: Guardianship of Minor Children (if applicable)

  • Naming Guardians for Minor Children: If you have minor children, name guardians who will be responsible for their care in the event of your death.
  • Outlining Their Responsibilities: Provide details about the guardians’ responsibilities, including financial support and upbringing.

Step 7: Signing and Witnessing the Will

  • Requirements for Signing and Witnessing: Ensure that your will is signed by you and witnessed by at least two independent witnesses who are not beneficiaries.
  • Importance of Following Legal Procedures: Follow legal procedures for signing and witnessing to ensure that your will is valid and legally binding.

Reviewing and Updating Your Will

Regularly reviewing and updating your will is essential to ensure that it accurately reflects your current circumstances and wishes. Here’s why it’s important and how to go about it:

Regularly Reviewing Your Will

Regular reviews of your will allow you to make necessary changes in response to life events, ensuring that your wishes remain up-to-date and relevant. Changes in personal relationships, financial status, or legal regulations may necessitate updates to your will to ensure that it continues to accurately reflect your intentions.

Circumstances That May Warrant Updates

Life is dynamic, and various circumstances may arise that require updates to your will. These may include marriage, divorce, birth or adoption of children, changes in financial status or assets, relocation to a different state or country, or changes in beneficiaries or executors.

How to Make Amendments to Your Will Legally

how to write a will Australia
how to write a will Australia: Step-by-step guide

To make amendments to your will legally, you can either create a new will that revokes the previous one or execute a codicil. Which is a document used to make minor changes or additions to an existing will. Whichever method you choose, it’s crucial to ensure that the amendments are executed in accordance with the legal requirements of your jurisdiction, including proper signing and witnessing procedures.


Writing a will in Australia is a crucial step in ensuring that your wishes are honored and your loved ones are provided for after you’re gone. As we conclude this guide, let’s recap the key steps involved and offer some final words of encouragement:

Writing a Will in Australia

We’ve covered the essential steps in writing a will, from understanding its significance and legal requirements to drafting, reviewing, and updating your document. By following these steps, you can create a comprehensive will that accurately reflects your wishes and safeguards your legacy.

Encouragement to Take Action and Secure Your Legacy

Don’t wait until it’s too late to write your will. Taking action now to create a will ensures that your assets are distributed according to your wishes and provides clarity and peace of mind for your loved ones. By securing your legacy through a well-thought-out will, you can protect your family’s future and leave behind a lasting impact.

Final Words of Advice and Encouragement

Writing a will may seem daunting, but it’s one of the most important tasks you can undertake for yourself and your family. Remember that you’re not alone – seek legal advice if needed, and don’t hesitate to ask for help in navigating the process. Take the time to review and update your will regularly to ensure it remains current and reflective of your wishes.

Why Choose The Law App?

Crafting a legally binding will ensures your property is handled according to your wishes. For comprehensive estate planning, including tax considerations, trust an experienced lawyer. Plan ahead for peace of mind.

The law app is a complete online marketplace for people to search for lawyers. At a price they can afford and for lawyers to build an online presence to find clients without the need for heavy marketing expenses. we match clients to lawyers directly based on their field of expertise and allow fair bidding to reach the right price.

Frequently asked questions (FAQs)

What Are the Key Components of a Will in Australia?

Understanding the essential elements of a will is crucial for drafting a comprehensive document. This question addresses components such as naming beneficiaries, appointing an executor, specifying asset distribution, and revoking previous wills.

Do I Need Legal Assistance to Write My Will in Australia?

Many individuals wonder whether they require legal assistance to draft their will. This FAQ discusses the pros and cons of seeking professional legal advice versus using DIY will kits, emphasising the importance of accuracy and compliance with legal requirements.

How Do I Choose an Executor for My Will in Australia?

Selecting the right executor is a critical decision in the will-writing process. This question explores factors to consider when choosing an executor, including trustworthiness, availability, organisational skills, and familiarity with the testator’s wishes.

Can I Include Specific Instructions or Conditions in My Will?

Individuals often want to include specific instructions or conditions in their wills, such as bequests, conditions for inheritance, or guardianship arrangements. This FAQ addresses the feasibility and legal enforceability of such provisions, along with considerations for clarity and practicality.