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Communtity Law Manual | Wills | Introduction



What exactly is a will?

A will is a document that says what you want to happen to your property after you die. It doesn’t have legal effect until you die.

Do I have to make a will?

No. But it is a good idea to have a will, because it is the way you can say what you want to happen to your property, and how you want any of your dependants to be cared for, after you die.

You do not have to make a will. But if you die without one, your property will be distributed according to what are called the “laws of intestacy” in the Administration Act 1969 (see the chapter “A death in the family”, under “Dealing with the deceased’s property”). This may not be the way you would have wanted things done.

For information about making an “advance directive” about medical treatment (sometimes called a “living will”), see the chapter “Disability rights”, under “Health and disability services”.

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