In this section: What is a will?Making your will | More information

What is a will?

A will is a legal document that comes into effect when you die. It says what you would like to happen to your property, money, and belongings. This is known as your estate. A will names the people you want to give your estate to, also known as beneficiaries. It also names the person you would want to be in charge of your estate. This person is known as your executor. You should also appoint a back-up executor.

To be valid, a will must be both:  

  • in writing, either handwritten or typed
  • dated and signed in front of two, preferably independent, witnesses who are not beneficiaries. 

Making a will is the only way to make sure your money, property and personal belongings go to the people who you want to receive them.

Making your will

To make a will, you must be 18 years or older and of sound mind. You can do one of the following:

  • ask a solicitor to prepare a will for you
  • buy a do-it-yourself kit, available from an Australia Post Office or some news agencies – you
    should carefully read and follow all instructions in the kit
  • make a will with the Public Trustee – this is only available to some people – see below.

You may wish to seek legal advice before you draft your own will. If your will does not meet all the legal requirements, or is not clear, your executor may need to employ a lawyer to have the will interpreted by a court. This may result in extra costs and delays to your estate. The Public Trustee can prepare and update wills for certain people, including all of the following:

  • existing clients who have already made a will with the Public Trustee
  • people wanting to name the Public Trustee as their executor
  • pension concession holders.

You can find out more about will and estate management fees with the Public Trustee. An indication of fees at the time of writing follows:

  • Simple will – naming Public Trustee as executor $124.30
  • Complex will $311.30
  • Concession holder $24.20
  • Change to existing will prepared by Public Trustee in last 10 years $61.60

To make an appointment you should contact the Public Trustee (08) 8999 7271.

More information

Comprehensive information is available on NTG website,

More information about end of life planning is available to COTA NT members in the White Papers section of the Members only pages.

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