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What are the formal requirements for a valid will or codicil?

Under section 8 of the Wills Act 1970 (WA) a will or codicil is not valid unless:

  • it is in writing

  • it is signed by the testator or signed in the testator’s name by some other person in the testator’s presence and by the testator’s direction

  • the testator makes or acknowledges the signature in the presence of at least 2 witnesses present at the same time

  • the witnesses attest and subscribe the will in the presence of the testator

  • the witnesses add her name, occupation and address.

The testator must be in the same room with both witnesses, all present throughout the signing process.

Only one pen should be used and that pen should be blue. The testator must date the will with the date when it was signed. All pages must be paginated and in the correct order.

If any alterations are made to a will or a codicil, the testator and the witnesses must sign them in the margin near the alterations. All three must sign in the others' presence and use the same blue pen.

Who can be a witness?

  • The will or codicil must be witnessed by two witnesses over the age of 18

  • The witnesses must be of sound mind

  • The witnesses must be able to physically the testator sign the will.

  • There is no restriction on the witnesses being beneficiaries under the will in Western Australia. However, it is essential that neither of the witnesses is a beneficiary or married or engaged to be married to a beneficiary. Having a witness who is also a beneficiary may raise a suspicion that the testator did not have testamentary intentions or knowledge and approval of the will's contents.

The testator must state in front of both witnesses they:

  • have read the will

  • know and approve its contents and

  • intend the document to be their will.

If there is more than one page, the testator and the witnesses must sign all pages.

Many things can go wrong when preparing a will.

For peace of mind, call us on 0421 145 637 to ensure your will has been prepared and signed correctly.


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