Your preferred office location:
  1. Home
  2. /
  3. HHG Articles
  4. /
  5. 9 Things You May not Know about Wills
29 Jan 2016

Many people share their experiences and stories from their Wills and Estate matters with family and friends. This can create myths about the way that Wills work. Here are a few facts that everyone should know about Wills made in Western Australia:


1. The person (or persons) that you nominate to be your executor is not obliged to accept that role. A clause appointing the executor is a wish only. This means that if your nominated executor is unable or unwilling to act, then they cannot be compelled to act. Your Will simply gives your nominated person a right of priority to act as your executor. If that person renounces their right, then any other person can act as your executor. In circumstances where there is no other person willing or able to act, then a professional executor (such as an accountant, solicitor or the Public Trustee) may be appropriate.


2. Marriage and divorce automatically invalidate a Will, unless the Will was made in contemplation of that marriage or divorce. It is important for your Will to have a clause expressly stating that the Will is made in contemplation of marriage or divorce.


3. Your Will gives away the assets that you own as at the date of your death. If your Will gives someone a specific item, such as a piece of jewellery, but you no longer own that item at the date of your death, then the beneficiary simply misses out on their gift. This is called “ademption”. The beneficiary is not compensated in any way for the value of the item.


4. Your Will should be updated as your circumstances change. A codicil is an additional document to your Will that makes minor amendments to your Will. A codicil is cheaper than making a new Will. However, it is usually best to make a new Will so that your wishes are clearly contained within the one document only.  



5. There are some types of assets that you can’t leave to a beneficiary by your Will. For example:

a) assets in your joint name with any other person – these assets will automatically go to the surviving owner; and

b) superannuation and life insurance – these benefits usually go to a person that you have nominated with your fund.



6. Under section 27 of the Wills Act 1970, if you leave a gift to your child in your Will, and that child predeceases you, but leaves children of their own (your grandchildren), then that gift will automatically pass to those grandchildren unless your Will says otherwise.


7. One of the formal requirements for a valid Will is that the will-maker’s signature must be witnessed by two independent adults. It is not appropriate for a beneficiary to witness the Will because this raises the possibility that the beneficiary has pressured the will-maker to sign the Will. The will-maker and the witnesses must all sign the Will in the presence of each other. If the will-maker and the witnesses all use the same pen, then this is some evidence that they were all together at the time of signing. It is also a good idea for the witnesses to print their full names, address and occupation in case they need to be located at a later date to give evidence about what happened at the time of signing.


8. A testamentary trust is a trust that arises upon the death of the Will-maker. The provisions of the trust are built in to the Will. The beneficiaries do not have direct control of their inheritance if it is held in a testamentary trust. A trustee will look after their inheritance, and make investments on their behalves. The trustee can choose to give cash sums to beneficiaries to assist with their living expenses, education, holidays and general financial support.


9. No Will is air-tight. Any one of the following people may be entitled to claim under the Family Provision Act 1972 (WA) for greater provision out of an estate:

a) spouse or de facto partner of the deceased;

b) children (whether biological or legally adopted); and

c) parents of the deceased.

In certain cases, step-children, grandchildren, former spouses and former de facto partners are also entitled to claim.


This is general information only, and does not constitute specific legal advice. If you would like further information in relation to this matter or other legal matters please contact our office on Freecall 1800 609 945 or email us now.

*This is general information only, and does not constitute specific legal advice. Please consult one of our experienced Legal Team for specific advice relevant to your situation.

Supporting Western Australians for more than 100 years

"Always fast and thorough service. Thank you"

Sitka Pil

"My circumstances at the time I made contact with HHG were dire following my argument being rejected by two no win no fee firms. Following my initial meeting with HHG's employment law team I was left feeling extremely positive by the response and concern shown by HHG in regards to their support of my argument along with their preparedness to pursue an outcome on my behalf.

I accept the fact that nobody really wins in these cases (mental health/ workplace) however the end result was what would be considered most favourable and far in excess of what would have been achieved had I not sought the advice from HHG.

I have no hesitation in recommending HHG to anyone caught up in the messy circumstances I found myself in at the time.

Great advice and five-star commitment to their client!!"

Nathan Lynch

"Thank you for such great assistance with the transaction of Flying Domestics on behalf of Lorna Good. It has been such a pleasure to work with the HHG Legal Group and I look forward to working with you in the future."

Jim Goodwin

"Simon Creek and his team were at all times empathic, professional and confident.  My matter needed to be addressed within a pressing time frame, and their availability at short notice and contact after hours was much appreciated.  It caused me considerable stress, but having such a thoroughly reliable and competent team to call on helped me to feel in control. Although I hope not to need their services again in future, I would be confident in doing so!"

Dr Lana Bell

"A good outcome is what we can expect.  A great outcome is a sign of a company which does the very best for their clients. A very big thank you to Daniel Morris for showing empathy towards my small and much needed legal action.

To HHG Legal Group, thank you for a great outcome.  I would recommend your company to anyone seeking legal services."

Jan Atkinson

"Your support this morning was amazingly kind, not to mention your totally reassuring competence, knowledge and wisdom that you used on my behalf.  It was extremely reassuring to have your knowledgeable support, and I particularly appreciated your real and obvious kindness to me. It means so much at a very difficult time. I'm so grateful to you."

Family Law Client

"Janene was very professional and we established a good rapport quickly. The subject of death and wills can be quite confronting to deal with, however, Janene's approach was soft and accommodating."

Lynette Livesey

"A big thank you to HHG for their professional service, continued support, and wide range of legal knowledge. Our clients have given us nothing but kind words regarding HHG Legal Group and so we have no hesitation in referring and recommending Simon Creek and HHG Legal Group for their outstanding services and legal expertise."

Nigel Plowman, Director at Mckinley Plowman & Associates

"Simon is a friendly and practical legal advisor. I have received great feedback from the clients I have referred to him and his team at HHG Legal Group."

Richard Beal, Director at BDO

"Over the last few years, I have been impressed by Simon’s legal ability, management skills, entrepreneurial spirit, personal integrity and people skills. He appears to be that rare breed of lawyer – both knowledgeable and commercial."

Michael Malone, Founder of iiNet

"Our family has been a client of HHG Legal Group over many years.  Business has included drawing up of wills for three generations and preparing of probate for my father in law. I would have no hesitation in recommending HHG Legal Group to anyone requiring such services."

Bernice Climie

"You should be congratulated for the manner in which your staff address clients and we found our dealings with your company, once again a very pleasant experience and we would like to truly thank you for your efforts."

Steve Harvey and Jane Powell

"HHG Legal were absolutely fantastic. Extremely responsive and brought calm to our chaotic family situation through their knowledge and caring attitude. Extremely professional from our very first contact with them and they expertly guided our family though the required legal process over almost a 12 month period."

Amanda Williamson

"Fantastic team! They really care about their client. Tim Colcutt is a 'go that extra mile' guy who gives his client his all. I can't recommend HHG and Tim enough."

Kerry Samson

"I had a fantastic lawyer in Matthew Lilly. He helped me out a great deal with good, sound advice in a friendly, professional manner. First class, thanks Matthew"

Graeme Hammond

"Marine Plant Systems has been working with HHG Legal Group for a few years now and they continually provide first-class service. Their professional advice has been invaluable to our company."

Carolin Grimm - Marine Plant Systems

"We were kept up to date at all times. Pricing was always updated over the time period so we remained "in budget". Personal access to someone whenever I had questions. All in all a great experience without too much fuss."

Rosslyn Tasker - COO Altusq Pty Ltd

"Good service you can count on."

Miles Lee

"HHG Legal Group has provided outstanding support as I have taken the journey of buying a business, their professionalism is beyond reproach. Their assistance throughout the Due Diligence process has been invaluable, I would fully recommend them."

Mark Armitage

"Very friendly and efficient service - what a pleasure working with Matthew."

Jacques Taylor

"I highly recommend Daniel from HHG Lawyer in Mandurah. When dealing with a complicated legal property matter recently I was extremely impressed by Daniel's honesty and integrity and the legal advice I received. I am very happy with the service from HHG Legal."

Tony Walker

"Lisa, thank you so much for representing me in court, honestly, I would not have had the outcome I got without you. Once again, Thank you so much."


"Matthew Lilly was excellent in processing our project. He achieved the excellent result that we required on our project.

We would give Matthew a 5 star rating.

We will definitely commission Matthew for any further projects if we have the need."


"I have had the pleasure of being represented by Ms Lisa Riley. Lisa helped me in December 2020 when I was charged. Lisa was extremely supportive, reassuring, and preserved with her investigation of the laws and was able to save me from a terrible outcome. Another incident occurred in August 2021 in which I sought Lisa’s help. Lisa preserved and was very patient with me. This only got resolved this year. When she advised me that she was leaving her old firm, I insisted that she remain my lawyer, as I had the utmost faith in her. Hence I moved over to HHG. Lisa took no shortcuts in my defence and continued to preserve for the toxicology report that ultimately saved me. She kept me up-to-date with the progress and provided support. Having someone as understanding as Lisa was a huge gift, to me and my family. You have gained a huge asset in Lisa joining your firm.

Thank you, Lisa, forever grateful for your work, and if ever needed, I will be sure to refer to you"


"We can highly recommend HHG Legal Group and particularly Mr Blair Campbell (Special Counsel / Dispute Resolution)

Blair worked with us as we navigated a very difficult third party dispute.

Blair’s expertise, wisdom, and the way he guided us in a very measured and calm manner gave us great encouragement and comfort. Blair helped us to focus on what we needed to and to trust the process.

Blair was always responsive to us, he always got back to us very promptly to answer our questions and to help us to step through some really hard days.

We are very grateful for Blair’s expertise and wisdom along with his empathy and care, this truly made the difference for us."

Wayne and Janice Belcher

Preferred office location:

Please select your nearest office location so we can show you the most relevant information.