How to Sign a Will

If you are reading this, then you have probably gone through the process of deciding how you want to divide your estate, providing instructions, drafting and reading the contents of your Will. Congratulations – this important step is something that approximately 50% of Australians have not done.

If not, this is probably useful information for you in any event.

If your Will was drafted by us, it has also been reviewed by our firm’s specialist Wills team.

Before you start, please:

  • Read the Will carefully to make sure that it says exactly what you want it to say.
  • Do not make any alterations to the Will.
  • If the Will contains errors or does not correctly reflect your wishes, please let your lawyer know before you sign anything.

 

Step 1: Find Two Eligible Witnesses

Once you are ready to sign you will need two witnesses who satisfy the following conditions:

  • The witnesses must be over the age of 18 years.
  • The witnesses do not need to read your Will and do not need to know that they are witnessing a Will, however, you can let them ready your Will if you would like to.
  • A witness must not be a person who is left anything in your Will (that is, a beneficiary).
  • A witness must not be the husband or wife of a beneficiary, or engaged to marry a beneficiary .

 

Step 2: Signing the Will

  1. Read your Will very carefully to make sure that every page is there and that the Will is correct in every detail.
  2. You and your witnesses MUST all use the same pen.
  3. The pen may be either biro or ink. It should be a blue or black pen. We tend to use blue pen because you can readily identify the original. Do not use any type of pen that can be erased.
  4. You and your witnesses must all be present during the entire process of signing, and all persons present must watch ever signature being written.
  5. Be sure that you sign your own Will, and that each page is a page of your own Will and not that of another person.
  6. You must sign, using your normal signature, at the bottom of each page of the Will.
  7. When you reach the last page(s), fill in the date in the space provided and sign again in the margin adjacent to the date. Each of your witnesses should also sign in the margin.
  8. Using your normal signature, sign the Will adjacent to the attestation clause at the end of the Will (where marked).
  9. The witnesses must then sign, using their normal signature and the same pen, at the bottom of each of the pages of the Will, near the signature of the testator.
  10. Once the witnesses reach the end of the Will, they should sign immediately below the attestation clause in the space provided, and add their full name, occupation and address.

Step 3: Keep your Will somewhere safe

  • It is very important that your Will is kept somewhere that it may be found by the people who need to find it when it needs to be found.
  • If the original of your Will cannot be found, then there is a presumption that the Will was revoked. If this happens, the Will may be deemed invalid and your estate may then pass as if you did not have a Will – which, given you have gone to the effort of making a Will, is probably not what you want. For this reason, we do not recommend that you store your Will at home.

 

We offer a complimentary central safe custody services for Wills at our head office in Canberra. This ensures they can be found when needed by your executors. If you would like to take advantage of this service, please take a copy of your Will for your records and send the original of your Will to the following address by express or registered post:

 

ATTN: Estates Team

Farrar Gesini Dunn

Level 1, 10 Rudd St

Canberra City

ACT 2601

 

We will send you a confirmation of receipt along with a scanned copy or hard copy to any address nominated by you.