How do I write a simple will? Everything you need to know

How do I draft a simple Will in Australia?

If your wishes require a simple Will (a simple Will meaning you have few assets to leave to your loved ones), you can use available templates such as those online at www.safewill.com. If you consider your assets to be ‘complex’ where you have more than just one or two assets to leave to your loved ones, you may require legal input. You may also require legal input if you want to ensure your Will will not be contested. Ensure you visit and discuss with your solicitor as they will ensure your wishes are recorded in a legally binding way. 

How do you start writing a Will?

Firstly consider which family, friends and organisation you would like to honour and how you would like to divide your assets. Our Personal Information Booklet has space for you to record all this so you can decide how best to share what you own. We greatly value any gift to ACRF as it ensures continued support for cancer research. Once you have decided what to leave and to who, you can begin drafting a Will.

Is a handwritten Will legal in Australia?

Technically nothing in Australia prevents you from writing a handwritten Will, however these are the most contested Wills, so it is important you include the following: 

  1. Ensure the Will is readable
  2. Ensure the language is appropriate
  3. Ensure you have chosen your witnesses correctly
  4. Ensure that the Will can be easily found
  5. Ensure the Will is dated

At the end of the day it is your Will, but to ensure that you get 100% say over where your assets are distributed, always make sure that your handwriting is clear or provide a soft version so there is no confusion whatsoever. 

What makes a Will legal in Australia? Are DIY Wills legal in Australia?

A Will is legal in Australia as long as:

  1. You have signed your Will in front of 2 or more witnesses
  2. The witnesses must sign the Will, either when you are present, or remotely using an audio visual link
  3. All individuals must sign on the same day
  4. One witness must be a lawyer 
  5. You must have the mental capacity and know and understand what a Will is, approximately what you have to leave in the Will, any reasonable claims that may be made against your property.


How to write a will example

ACRF Will Wording:

“I give to Australian Cancer Research Foundation (ABN 27 076 461 360) of Suite 903, 50 Margaret Street, Sydney NSW 2000 for the purposes of funding world class cancer research, free from all taxes and duties, (here please specify your gift, eg. the residue of my estate, XX% of the residue of my estate or the sum of $XXX). I direct that the receipt of any director or other proper officer for the time being of that Foundation will be a sufficient discharge to my Trustees.”

No matter what age you are, it is always good practice to create a Will. That way you can ensure you are directing exactly where your assets go. If there are changes in your life (you get married, you divorce, you have another child etc) keeping your Will updated will save your loved ones heartache down the line.