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Do you need a lawyer to write a will?

06 December 2023

Guide Wills

Do you need a Lawyer to write a will?

The short answer is no. But there are some things that you should be aware of before producing a will of your own. In this article, we’re going to look at what it means to produce a will without the direct assistance of a lawyer or professional will writer, and all the key details you should be aware of throughout the process.

What is a will?

Your will is your voice after you’re gone. It tells people what you want done with your assets after you die. The clearer your instructions, the better it is for the people you leave behind.

 

A well-written and up to date will helps make sure:

  • The right people are provided for after you pass away.
  • Your wishes with respect to your children and guardianship are known.
  • Your assets get distributed the way that you want.
  • The people responsible for managing your estate understand how you want your affairs managed. This makes it more likely your estate can be settled quickly.

How hard is it to produce a will on my own?

Producing a will doesn’t have to be overly difficult. It just requires close attention to detail. If you have simple circumstances, then you can benefit greatly from the use of our online will or the will kits we produce at State Trustees, both of which offer guidance on the process. All you need to do is fill your will out as clearly as possible and ensure that you’ve met your obligations for validity.

 

Find out what type of will is right for you: Simple vs Complex Will

How do I ensure that my will is valid?

To be valid, your will must be in writing, signed and dated by yourself in the presence of two eligible witnesses who will also need to sign the will. These witnesses must be over 18 years of age, and it is best that they are not beneficiaries of your will as it is a legal requirement in some states that they are not. These witnesses must also sign your will in your presence, in effect stating that they have verified that the will you’ve created represents your wishes. It is also important that each signatory, including yourself, notes the date of signing.

What problems do I need to look out for?

In most cases, a will is filled out a long time before someone passes away. If that sounds like you, your circumstances will likely change over time, and there are things you should look out for. The biggest one is changes in relationship status, because a change in marital status will almost always affect the validity of your will.

 

Read more: How can a will be revoked?

 

Over time,  your priorities are also likely to change. A will written ten years ago might not represent what you want anymore. So it’s important that you take the time to review your existing will, and check in with yourself about any of life’s big changes. Regular check-ins like this will help you make sure your will represents what you really want according to your current circumstances after you pass away.

 

You can also check out the list of common mistakes people make in relation to their wills.

Get started with State Trustees

You can produce a will on your own (with witnesses). But you can save yourself a great deal of trouble with our Online Will. State Trustees’ Online Will provides you with a guided experience and general advice that will quickly and easily assist you to produce your will.

To learn more, head to our Online Will page. For any questions you might have, do not hesitate to reach out to us by calling 1300 138 672 or fill out a contact form today!

Useful resources

Guide

Will writing guide

Read more
Checklist

Executor checklist

Read more
Guide

8 reasons to update your will

Read more

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Original artwork ‘Four Sisters Coming Together’ by Melissa Bell 2023