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International wills

A will can be one of the most complex and difficult documents to write, especially where assets or beneficiaries are located across several jurisdictions.

To simplify succession law in Australia, the Australian Government acceded to the Convention Providing a Uniform Law on the Form of an International Will 1973 which entered into force for Australia on 10 March 2015. All states and territories have passed legislation to give effect to the convention.

The convention was developed by the International Institute for the Unification of Private Law (UNIDROIT), a forum which aims to develop international instruments to assist in the harmonisation of private international law principles between member countries. Australia has been a member since 1973.

The convention seeks to harmonise and simplify proof of formalities for wills that have international characteristics. It does this by setting up a uniform law introducing a new form of will, known as an 'international will', which is recognised as a valid form in all countries that are party to the convention. The uniform law is annexed to the convention and establishes the international will as an alternative form of will available to prospective testators.

More information about the convention is available on the UNIDROIT website.