Due to the emerging situation with COVID-19 many Australians are interested in updating or making their Wills.
It is important to have a Will because it allows you to choose what happens to your assets after you die. If you die without making Will then the next of kin will need to apply to the Supreme Court for Letters of Administration.
What do I need to make a Will?
The requirements for making a valid Will have not changed.
You can make a Will if you are over 18 years of age and are of “sound mind”.
- The Will must be in writing;
- The Will must be signed by the testator at the end of the Will;
- The testator’s signature must be witnessed by two witnesses;
- The witnesses must sign the Will in the presence of the testator and each other; and
- A beneficiary or the testator’s spouse cannot witness a Will. If they do they will lose their entitlements under that Will.
For more information please refer to our other factsheet: https://www.legalaid.tas.gov.au/factsheets/wills/
How do I make a Will?
Options for making a Will have not changed: Speak to a solicitor, Speak to the Public Trustee or Tasmanian Perpetual Trustees, Home Will Kit.
Many Legal firms have now advised their clients not to attend the office physically. They are conducting interviews by telephone and posting out a draft of the Will for perusal. At this time, if the client is happy to sign the document- an appointment will be arranged for signing the Will. Note: this advice depends on each firm and it will be essential to check with that firm what their arrangements are Butler, McIntyre & Butler are an example of a firm following the above process.
Online Will Making Services
Some firms have incorporated online Wills programs to allow individuals to begin the process at home. There is still an interview process which occurs after the initial information has been collected. http://www.degroots.com.au/
Tips for clients making their Wills
Please remember that if you are required to self isolate that means that you must stay at your home and that you cannot attend a law firm or other public place unless for the purpose of accessing medical care. It is crucial that you follow this direction to prevent the transmission of cases in the community.
If you are required to self isolate in your home and you wish to make a Will document, consider discussing this with a close relative or friend. They may be able to pick up a Home Will kit document for you from the local post office.
Please contact Legal Aid on 1300 366 611 should you have any questions about filling out this document or to clarify what certain words mean.
All Tasmanians should be practicing social distancing and hand washing measures. If you have arranged an appointment with your lawyer please continue to follow those practices.
What do I do once I have made my Will?
- Keep it somewhere safe – Keep it with your important documents.
- Let your executor know where you are putting the Will.
- Let your close family and friends know.