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Serious Injuries & Statutory Wills in Queensland

Ensuring Protection for Vulnerable Individuals

In Queensland, the legal framework surrounding wills plays a critical role in ensuring that individuals’ wishes are respected, and their assets are distributed according to their intentions. However, there are situations where traditional methods of creating a will may not suffice, especially when individuals lack the cognitive ability to draft or update their wills due to severe disabilities or incapacitation. This is where the concept of a statutory will becomes crucially important.


Imagine a case where a young individual suffers a severe brain injury as a result of a traumatic motor vehicle accident. Despite the devastating impact on their cognitive abilities, they receive a substantial payout from an insurance claim or compensation settlement. This payout significantly alters their financial circumstances, making it essential to reassess their estate planning strategies. Unfortunately, due to their impaired mental capacity, they are unable to comprehend the complexities of drafting a new will or updating an existing one to reflect their new financial situation and intentions.

Without an appropriate will for the updated circumstances of the injury victim, there is a risk that their assets could be distributed in a way that does not reflect their true intentions.

Understanding Statutory Wills

A statutory will is a legal mechanism designed to precisely address such scenarios. It allows the Supreme Court of Queensland to create or amend a will on behalf of a person who lacks the mental capacity to do so themselves. This process is guided by the principles of fairness and ensuring that the individual’s assets are distributed in a manner that aligns with their best interests and any prior expressed wishes.

Legal Process and Considerations

The process of obtaining a statutory will involves filing an application with the Supreme Court of Queensland. This application typically includes evidence of the individual’s incapacity, details of their assets, proposed distribution of the estate, and any prior expressions of testamentary intentions. The court will carefully review the application to ensure that the proposed statutory will is fair and in the best interests of the person concerned.

This is an expensive legal process. However, the court’s enabling of the creation and amendment of wills for individuals with severe disabilities serves a dual purpose of protection and fairness. They protect vulnerable individuals from potential financial mismanagement or exploitation while ensuring that their wishes are respected, and their loved ones are provided for according to their intentions.

The importance of statutory wills in Queensland cannot be overstated. A statutory will provides a vital legal mechanism to safeguard a vulnerable person’s interests, protect their assets, and ensure that their wishes are honoured. It is a compassionate and necessary tool within the legal system that upholds fairness and dignity for all individuals, regardless of their physical or mental abilities.

If a loved one has suffered a serious personal injury and lacks the cognitive capacity to draft their own will, Roche Legal’s expert will and estates lawyers can assist. Being a personal injury law firm primarily, we take a special interest in ensuring that Queensland’s most vulnerable people are looked after.

This commentary is published by Roche Legal for general information purposes only and should not be relied on as specific advice. The content relates to Queensland law only and is subject to change over time. You should seek legal advice for any question, or for any specific situation or proposal, before making any decision.