International Wills, what are they?

We often have estate planning clients that hold assets in places other than Australia.

Often, those clients will have a Will in the country that they own property in. Others don’t have a Will there or even plan on going back, so they are unlikely to have a Will drawn up that will meet the requirements of that particular country.

A solution to this, and as a means to prevent the need for having multiple Wills in multiple countries (as it is not uncommon to have an Australian Will to deal with Australian assets only and a Will in another country dealing with assets in that country only), is to put in place what is known as an “International Will”.

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 and all states and territories of Australia have passed legislation to give effect to the Convention.

The Convention was developed by the International Institute for the Unification of Private Law (UNIDROIT) to harmonise and simplify proof of formalities for Wills that have international characteristics and resulted in a uniform law introducing the International Will.

An International Will, where signed in accordance with the requirements of the Convention, is recognized as a valid form of Will in all countries that are party to the convention.

They are not for everyone though, and there may be very good reasons for not using an International Will and using a more specific Will in each country.


Craig Pryor is principal solicitor at McKillop Legal. For further information in relation to International Wills, estate planning and dealing with assets outside of Australia, please contact Craig Pryor on (02) 9521 2455 or email

This information is general only and is not a substitute for proper legal advice. Please contact McKillop Legal to discuss your legal concerns or objectives.

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