Statutory Wills (Court ordered Wills)

Swanwick Murray Roche – Rockhampton & CQ Lawyers and Solicitors

What is a court ordered Will?
Swanwick Murray Roche can assist you with all matters relating to court ordered Wills (also known as statutory wills). As at the date of this article, we are one of few law firms in Queensland to have actually successfully made an application for a court-ordered Will and be granted the order.

A Court Ordered Will, or a Statutory Will, is a Will made by the Supreme Court of Queensland (after an application has been made to the court) on behalf of someone who has:

  • Lost Capacity—applies when the person had mental capacity, but lost it later in life, for example as a result of illness or accident. The person’s previous valid Will, if they had one, may no longer be deemed valid or applicable to the person’s circumstances.
  • Nil Capacity—applies when a child suffers an illness or accident from birth or in early infancy, which causes loss of capacity, and means that the person will never have the required capacity to make a Will.
  • Pre-empted Capacity—applies when a person does not have the capacity to make a Will, but previously had the capacity to express reasonable wishes or to form a relationship that should be reflected in a Will, as recognised by the court.

Since 2006 all Australian states and territories have introduced laws permitting courts to authorise that a Will be made, altered or revoked for a person deemed to be lacking testamentary capacity. As the Australian population ages, and as life expectancy increases, requests for Statutory Wills are becoming more common. This is a complex area of the law that requires specialist legal knowledge.

What happens if someone dies without a Will?

When a person does not have a valid Will each state has rules about how a person’s estate is administered. These are known as the intestacy rules. Often though, the distribution of an estate when the intestacy rules are applied is not appropriate, nor what the deceased would have wanted. Please read this Information Sheet on our website for more specific information.

If you need legal help with a court order relating to a Will, please contact our office to discuss how we can assist you.

How to apply for a court ordered Will

To apply for a Court Ordered Will, an application must be made to the Court seeking an order for the making of a Will. However, before granting that leave, the court must be satisfied that adequate steps have been taken to ensure that all people with a proper interest in the estate are represented.

Before making the order, the court must also be satisfied that the person, on behalf of whom the Will is being created, lacks testamentary capacity and is alive at the time the Will is made. The court must also be satisfied that the proposed Will is, or may be, a Will that the person in question would themselves make if they had testamentary capacity.

What is testamentary capacity?

In order to make a Will, a person must have testamentary capacity, which means they must:

Our Team

Our experienced wills and estates lawyers are well trained. They keep up to date with daily changes in the law to provide you with up to date legal advice.

Click on our staff profiles to learn more about each of our experienced family law team members:

Contact Us

If you have any questions about Court Ordered Wills, testamentary capacity or other Wills disputes matters, please contact our office for a confidential, no-obligation discussion about how we can help you. We offer a 'no win, no fee'* cost agreement in most matters relating to Will Disputes.


David Lipke

David Lipke is a partner of our Rockhampton firm overseeing the litigation and insurance division in the firm. His experience includes work in institutional claims, workers compensation and motor accident claims.

Terry Tummon

Terry Tummon is a partner of the firm overseeing the family law division. Terry’s experience includes dealing with property settlement and litigation matters.

Robert Rooney

Robert Rooney is a partner of the firm overseeing the commercial & business, property, wills & estates division. His experience includes commercial transaction and advisory work.

Katina Perren

Katina Perren is a solicitor of the firm, Independent Children’s Lawyer and Separate Representative. Her experience includes work in custody, separation, divorce and property settlement matters.

Nicola Goodwin

Nicola Goodwin is a solicitor of Swanwick Murray Roche practicing in family law, divorce and separation matters, parenting disputes and court applications for family matters.


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