Statutory Wills FAQs

What is a statutory will?
The terms of a statutory will are approved by the Supreme Court in circumstances where a person does not have legal capacity to make a will themselves.  
 
Who might need a statutory will?
A statutory will might be required for a person who has suffered a head injury or stroke or has dementia.  The Court can also approve a statutory will for a child, who does not have legal capacity to make a will simply because of their age.  A statutory will need only be considered if:
 
  • a person does not have a will and the statutory rules which govern the distribution of an estate do not reflect what they would have wanted to happen. For example, the person might have been separated from their spouse for many years but never divorced.  It might not be appropriate for that spouse to receive a significant benefit.
  • a person has a valid will but their circumstances have changed since the will was made and its provisions are no longer appropriate.
 
What is involved in obtaining a statutory will?
You need to apply to the Supreme Court.  Extensive evidence needs to be put before the Court about the person’s assets and what their intentions are likely to have been if they had the capacity to make a will themselves.  Affidavits from family members and friends might be necessary.
 
What does it cost to get a statutory will?
This will depend on the complexity of the application, whether there are family members or other people who oppose the application or think they should be provided for, the nature of the family relationships, the attitude of the person’s attorney or administrator and many other considerations.
 
Before you decide to apply, we will discuss what will be involved and provide an estimate of the likely costs. We will also discuss how we will charge for our services.
 
Our costs will be reasonable – we will discuss them with you in detail before you instruct us to act on your behalf and will enter into a Costs Agreement with you.  We strongly recommend you seek independent legal advice about the Costs Agreement before you sign it.