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:
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.
To make a will, you must be 18 years or older and of sound mind. You can do one of the following:
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:
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:
To make an appointment you should contact the Public Trustee (08) 8999 7271.
Comprehensive information is available on NTG website, nt.gov.au/law/bdm/make-a-will
More information about end of life planning is available to COTA NT members in the White Papers section of the Members only pages.