Are handwritten Wills legal?

PUBLISHED 04 Jan 2020

Estate planning is crucial to making sure your assets are properly divided and you have set plans for where you want your most treasured belongings, property and money to end up after you die. Done right, you can also help your family avoid fights and arguments that might arise due to vague language or seemingly unfair circumstances, though, of course, these types of sentiments might arise when expensive assets are involved.

But you might wonder if everything needs to be so prim and proper. What if you find yourself under pressure to get things on paper as soon as possible – literally. In Australia, is it possible to write our your Will on a spare bit of loose-leaf paper, if that’s all you’ve got handy? While this might seem like a scenario that might only come up in movies, here are some answers to questions that you might have.

Can you hand write your Will?

Again, though this might seem more in place in an action film where the hero is in a harrowing scene, you might find yourself wanting to get your ideas collected in one area relatively quickly, especially if you’re sick or you don’t know when you can get to a lawyer.

While the specific details will depend on the state or territory you’re in, generally speaking, across Australia, handwritten Wills are legal. While typed Wills are more common, the only stipulation for a Will is that it must be “in writing” and that it needs to be signed and dated by the person making the Will and witnesses.

Who signs a handwritten Will?

As a precaution to make sure the Will isn’t written under duress and that is legitimate (i.e. that it isn’t a forgery and that the person is of sound mind and body), there are requirements set forth by each state and jurisdiction that require witnesses.

For instance, in New South Wales, the will-maker and two or more other people need to sign the Will. Both need to be there when the writer signs the Will as well, and it’s recommended that beneficiaries not serve as witnesses. Victoria requires two mentally proficient witnesses to view the signing, and notes that everyone must use the same pen, to prove that they were together.

To learn more about estate planning, or if you need help challenging a Will you believe may be invalid, don’t hesitate to contact the team at Gerard Malouf and Partners Compensation, Medical Negligence & Will Dispute Lawyers today.

Call us now on 1800 004 878 to book a free appointment with one of my compensation experts, or email your enquiry.