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Understanding the Essentials: What makes a valid Will?

by | Feb 27, 2024 | Wills & Estates

In Victoria the elements of a valid Will are set out in the Wills Act 1997.  To ensure that your wishes are honoured after your death, it is crucial that your Will be valid because if it isn’t, your loved ones may incur additionally stress and costs in administering your estate.

Here are the key elements that contribute to the validity of a Will in Victoria.

Testamentary Capacity

A valid Will requires the willmaker has testamentary capacity, that is that they understand the nature and consequences of their decisions and be free from any undue influence or coercion when making their Will.


In Victoria, the legal age for making a Will is 18 years old.  Someone under the age of 18 can make a Will however, it needs to be done through the Supreme Court of Victoria.

In Writing

A Will must be in writing, whether it’s handwritten, typed, or printed.  Verbal wills or those created through electronic means are generally not recognised.

Signed by the willmaker

The willmaker must sign their Will to show acceptance of the document as their last Will.  If the willmaker is physically unable to sign, they can either ‘mark’ the Will or, direct someone else to sign on their behalf in their presence and at their direction.


When a willmaker signs their Will, there must also be two witnesses present who are not beneficiaries or spouses of beneficiaries.  These witnesses must also sign the will.


The Will should include the date of signing.  This is important in determining the most recent Will if multiple versions exist.

Revocation and Alteration

 If the willmaker wishes to revoke or alter the will, it must be done correctly.  For more information on how to revoke a Will, see our recent article.  If amending a Will through a Codicil, this must also be done through the correct means to ensure its validity.

Presence of an Executor

Appointing an executor is a critical aspect of a Will.  This person is responsible for administering a Will and ensuring the willmaker’s wishes are carried out.  While not a strict requirement for validity, having an executor ensures a smoother probate process.

Understanding Family Provisions

Again while not a strict requirement, it is essential that a willmaker be aware of family provision laws, which allow eligible individuals to contest a Will if they believe they have not been adequately provided for.

How can Nevett Ford held?

Understanding these elements is fundamental when creating a Will in Victoria and generally, all States and Territories of Australia have the same requirements for a valid Will.

By working with our Wills and Estates Team, we provide assurance that your Will is valid and made in accordance with the Wills Act 1997.  For more information, please contact us on 03 9614 7111 or by email to melbourne@nevettford.com.au.