Below we set out some best-practice guidelines for signing your Will.
Beneficiary means a person who is left something in a Will.
Testator/Testatrix means the person making the Will.
2. Preparing the Will
(a) If your Will is more than one page long then it should be stapled. The stapled area should be covered with coloured tape to secure all pages. This should be done BEFORE the Will is signed, not after.
(b) Do NOT pin or attach anything to the Will at any time.
(a) You must have two (2) witnesses.
(b) The witnesses should both be over the age of 18 years.
(c) A witness must NOT be a Beneficiary.
(d) A witness must NOT be the husband or wife of a Beneficiary, or engaged to marry a Beneficiary.
4. Signing The Will
(a) Before signing read your Will through very carefully to make sure that every page is there and that the Will is correct in every detail.
(b) Any alterations to the Will must be made before the Will is signed, and the alterations initialed by the Testator/Testatrix and the witnesses in the adjacent margin.
(c) You and your witnesses should all use the same pen.
(d) The pen may be either biro or ink so long as it leaves a mark that is non- erasable. It should be a black pen. Do NOT use any type of pen that can be erased.
(e) You and your witnesses must all be present during the entire process of signing. All persons present must watch each signature being written.
(f) You do not have to tell your witnesses the contents of the Will.
(g) Be absolutely sure that you sign your own Will, and that each page is a page of your own Will and not that of another person.
(h) Fill in the date in the space provided.
(i) Using your normal signature, sign the Will in the execution clause at the end of the will.
(j) The first witness must then sign at the end of the Will immediately below your signature in the space provided, and add his or her full name, occupation and address. Then the second witness must sign alongside the signature of the first witness in the space provided and add his or her full name, occupation and address.
(k) If the will consists of more than one sheet of paper, the Testator/Testatrix and both witnesses should also sign at the foot of each page, the Testator/Testatrix first, all being in each other’s presence throughout and using the same pen. The purpose is to authenticate the pages of the will and to prevent later substitutions.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
Do Wills need to be registered to be valid?
No Wills do not need to be registered in order to be valid in Australia. There is no single State or Federal government Will registry in Australia.
Where should a Will be stored?
Your Will should be stored where it can be found after your death. If your Will cannot be located after your death, then you are essentially dying intestate. Make sure you tell those close to you, and in particular your executors where your Will is stored.
What do I do with my Will after it has been signed?
Store in somewhere safe
Notify your close family and your executor(s) where you have stored it
Destroy any previous Will you may have to ensure that your executor does not seek a grant of probate with the wrong Will
Staple or clip anything to your signed original WIl Send it back to us