A Statement of Wishes(SOW) is a morally binding statement that expresses your views and wishes. It's a document that accompanies your Last Will & Testament, assisting your executors and loved ones by providing a greater understanding of your wishes. This article provides a brief overview of a Statement of Wishes estate planning document and answers the most common questions.

What is a Statement of Wishes?

A Statement of Wishes is an informal document made to accompany a Will. It is useful for providing a personal view of your end-of-life wishes and to give further context to an executor of your Will and family members. This document will be particularly useful for those administering your estate after your death, when you are no longer around for them to ask for context. For example, if someone has been left out of your Will, a Statement of Wishes may give some background about why. This may include the nature of the relationship (or lack thereof) between you and the person being left out. A Statement of Wishes is only an express wish. It is not legally binding and will not revoke or change the provisions of your Will.  

What should I include in a Statement of Wishes?

A Statement of Wishes may include matters such as:

  • Unexpected decisions made under a Will (leaving someone out or leaving particular gifts to people);
  • Instructions about care for young children or dependants;
  • Instructions about the way personal items should be divided (if not already dealt with in the Will);
  • Instructions about where important documents are located (certificate of title for property, Will, prepaid funeral documents, insurance documents);
  • A record of digital assets (social media accounts; banking and finance accounts, including newer apps such as Raiz; email accounts, etc).
Do you need an Advance Care Directive or an Enduring Power of Attorney? Here's which estate planning document is required for each state.

Do I need to register it?

Your Statement of Wishes doesn't need to be registered anywhere. However, it is recommended that the document is kept with your Last Will & Testament and stored in a safe and accessible place. It's also a good idea to give a copy to your Executor or Next of Kin, or at least let them know that it exists. If you are storing the document with your Will, be sure not to staple it or attach it to the Will document in any way, otherwise it can invalidate your Will.

To learn more, visit the Bare Law website or chat with our estate team for a free consultation, on 1800 959 371.

This article is not legal advice. You should chat with a legal professional for specific advice on your personal or financial situation.