Planning ahead

Making a will

Making a valid will is the only way you can be sure your property is distributed according to your wishes after your death.

There is no legal requirement that a solicitor must prepare a will, but using a legal professional will make sure your will is legal and reduce the possibility of it being contested.

If you don't have a legal will, South Australian laws will determine how your property or 'estate' will be divided.


An executor of a will is the person or organisation responsible for carrying out the wishes of the deceased as instructed in their will. Being an executor may involve any or all of the following duties:

  • making funeral arrangements
  • applying for a certified copy of the death certificate
  • applying for probate (the process of proving and registering in the Supreme Court the last will of a deceased person)
  • attending to all financial matters, including funeral expenses, legal costs, distributing assets and settling any outstanding debts.

Assistance with wills

The following services are available to prepare wills and provide assistance:

  • Public Trustee - can prepare wills and act as executor. If you choose to appoint the Public Trustee to prepare your will and/or administer your estate, no charges are incurred until after your death
  • Legal Services Commission - provides free information and legal advice on wills, including information about contesting a will
  • Law Society of South Australia - provides a referral service for solicitors who can prepare a will and do home visits
  • Council of the Ageing South Australia (COTA SA) - a solicitor is available to provide free advice on general legal matters, including simple wills. Fees are charged for preparation of more complicated wills (lower price for members).

Related information


Administration and Probate Act 1919

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Page last updated 30 July 2018

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Department of Human Services
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