- Wills made by minors are generally invalid, but the courts have started to use a new jurisdiction to authorise minors to make wills
- The requirements for authorisation are wholly distinct from those applying to wills made on behalf of someone without capacity
Where a minor receives a substantial damages award or inheritance, and the intestacy rules may not lead to a satisfactory distribution of that property on their death, consideration should be given to their estate planning. Two recent cases, in South Australia and Queensland, illustrate that it may be appropriate for an application to be made for the court to approve the making of a will by the minor.
The court’s jurisdiction
Under section 5(1) of the Succession Act 2006 (NSW) and the equivalent provision in other Australian jurisdictions, a will made by a minor is not valid. The Act provides only limited exceptions, including in the case of a minor who is married. However, the court may, under section 16, make an order authorising a minor to make or alter a will in specific terms approved by the court. This relatively new statutory jurisdiction was introduced in New South Wales in 2006.