A will is a document which sets out how you would like your property to be distributed after you die.
If you are 18 years of age (or under the age of 18, if married) and are of sound mind, memory and understanding you are capable of making a will. A will can be drawn up by anyone, but it must meet certain criteria in order for it to be considered valid.
For a will to be considered valid in Queensland it must be:
– in writing;
– it must be dated and signed by the person making the will. The person making the will is commonly referred to as the testator;
– the testator’s signature must be witnessed in the presence of two other people. The witnesses must be over 18 years of age and cannot be blind. It is important to note that a person who is going to benefit under the will, commonly referred to as a beneficiary should not witness the will.
Property which can be included in a will can cover personal property, real estate, superannuation and insurance policies, providing a beneficiary has not been listed in the policy. It is also important to note that if you are a joint tenant of a property, the property will pass to the other joint tenant if you die, this therefore cannot be listed in your will.
Other factors that can be included in your will are matters relating to your children. You can appoint a guardian of your children or create a trust to provide for your children.
Please note that different states have different procedures relating to the drafting of a valid will.