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What Invalidates a Will? Common Errors to Avoid When Preparing a Will

  • By:Anderson Boemi

A will is your final act that ensures your assets are protected and distributed according to your wishes. No one wants to leave behind a will only to find out that it is invalid. Not only does this cause disputes and significant stress to your loved ones, but it may ultimately cost your estate thousands of dollars in legal expenses. Here are some common errors to avoid to ensure that your will is safe, secure and will deliver as intended:

1. The will was not executed
It is important that you sign your will. If it is not signed, it cannot be valid.

2. The will was incorrectly witnessed
A will needs to be signed in the presence of two independent witnesses to make it legally valid. The witnesses must be over 18 years of age, be mentally competent and both be present at the time of signing the will.

3. Not destroying previous wills
To ensure the validity of your will, it is important to destroy any previous wills including any drafts that may have been prepared. This will allow your loved ones to find the correct version of your will.

4. Lack of testamentary capacity
A will-maker needs to be of sound mind when making a will. Disputes often arise alleging that the deceased lacked the necessary capacity to prepare their will. If you are an elderly individual or have a condition that may affect your mental capacity, it is best to get a letter from you doctor confirming that you are of sound mind. This will avoid any potential disputes regarding your sanity in the future.

5. Making alterations to the will after it has been signed
If you wish to change your will after it has been signed and witnessed, you will need to prepare an official alteration that must be signed and witnessed in the same manner your original will was, or you could prepare a new will altogether. You cannot cross out parts to your will and add noted in its place as this will invalidate your will.

Your will should be reviewed every few years or whenever there is a change in your affairs. This will ensure that your beneficiaries and assets remain current.

If you are thinking about estate planning, please contact our team at Anderson Boemi Lawyers on 02 9653 9466.



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Posted in: Wills and Estates