Who Can Witness a Will in Victoria: 2 Important Requirements

who can witness a will in victoria | Dandenong Family Lawyers

Who Can Witness a Will in Victoria: Requirements for Witnessing a Will in Victoria

When creating a will in Victoria, it is crucial to ensure that it is properly witnessed.

This step not only affirms the authenticity of the will but also helps prevent potential disputes.

To be a valid witness to a will in Victoria, an individual must meet two key requirements.

  1. Age Requirement:

In Victoria, a witness to a will must be at least 18 years old. This age requirement ensures that the witness is legally an adult and is presumed to have the maturity and judgment necessary to understand and perform the role responsibly.

The witness’s responsibility involves acknowledging that the person making the will (the testator) has the mental capacity to do so and is signing the will freely, without coercion or undue influence.

The witness may be called upon to attest to these facts in legal proceedings, making the age requirement a crucial safeguard.

2. Mental Capacity Requirement:

A witness to a will in Victoria must be of sound mind, meaning they are capable of understanding the significance of the document they are witnessing.

This requirement ensures that the witness comprehends the gravity and legal implications of their role.

The witness must understand that by signing the will, they are confirming that the testator is expressing their intentions freely and clearly.

This requirement helps safeguard the will against potential challenges related to the testator’s mental state or the circumstances under which the will was signed.

Restrictions on Who Can Witness A Will

In addition to the age and mental capacity requirements, there are restrictions on who can witness a will in Victoria.

Conflict of Interest: Individuals who stand to benefit from the will, such as beneficiaries or the spouse/domestic partner of a beneficiary, should not witness the will.

This restriction helps avoid any appearance of undue influence and maintains the will’s credibility and enforceability.

If a beneficiary or someone closely related to a beneficiary witnesses a will, it could lead to claims of undue influence or coercion, potentially resulting in parts of the will being invalidated.

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Number of Witnesses Required

Under Victorian law, a will must be signed by two witnesses who are both present at the same time. The simultaneous presence of both witnesses during the signing of the will serves as a mutual confirmation of the testator’s intentions and mental state at the time of signing.

Key Takeaway: Two witnesses are required to be present simultaneously to ensure the will’s validity.

Professional Witnesses

While not mandatory, it is often advisable to have a will witnessed by a professional, such as a solicitor or a public notary.

These professionals can provide additional assurance that the will has been executed properly and can offer advice on complex issues, including the wording of the will and the legal implications of certain clauses.

Key Takeaway: Professional witnesses can enhance the credibility and enforceability of your will.

Online Witnessing

Recent changes to Victorian law also allow for the online witnessing of wills. This is particularly useful in situations where physical gatherings are restricted, such as during a lockdown.

However, online witnessing must follow specific protocols to ensure the authenticity and integrity of the will-signing process.

Key Takeaway: Online witnessing is a valid option in Victoria, provided all legal protocols are followed.

Ensure That Your Witness Meets The Required Criteria

Understanding who can witness a will in Victoria is essential for ensuring the validity of this critical legal document.

By ensuring that your witnesses meet the age and mental capacity requirements, and by being aware of the restrictions on who can serve as a witness, you can protect the intentions laid out in your will and safeguard your legacy.



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