There is no doubt that we are seeing more and more challenges to Wills by disappointed beneficiaries.
To achieve your estate planning goals, which primarily means the intended beneficiaries of your estate upon your death receive their entitlements without challenge, the drafting of Wills is becoming more and more critical.
At the same time cost pressures in society are leading many people to try and do their own Will by purchasing an inexpensive DIY Legal Will kit.
DIY Legal Will kits can cost less than $100.00. However, most of us have heard the saying, “you get what you pay for” or “pay peanuts, get monkeys”.
The reality is people make lots of mistakes when they try to draft their own Will. It is like DIY heart surgery, just because you could do it yourself, should you?
Making your own Will has a number of pitfalls. You only have to answer one question incorrectly or miss filling in one thing, and your attempt to have an inexpensive but valid and binding Will governing the distribution of your estate, is wrecked. This could cause the beneficiaries of your estate additional expense in having to apply to the court to try and cure the errors in the Will drafting, if they can be cured at all, and in addition to the expense to be incurred, there will be delay and emotional distress in having to deal with sorting out the mess. Not to mention, the opportunity that has been given to disappointed beneficiaries to try and obtain a share of your estate or an increased share of your estate.
DIY Legal Will kits try and make the completion of a Will a standardised procedure. However, people’s lives are not standardised and every Will has to be tailored to fit your own situation.
Some of the problems that are emerging in estates from DIY Legal Will kits are as follows:-
- They are signed incorrectly.
- Inappropriate conditions.
- Dated incorrectly, or not at all.
- No executor.
- Failure of a specific gift.
- Vague wording.
- Questionable intentions.
- Unidentifiable people named.
- Questionable testamentary capacity.
- Not fully owning property you try to gift.
- Inadequate descriptions of gifts.
- Not dealing with trustee issues for underage children who are not old enough to inherit.
- Not dealing with superannuation correctly.
- No safe custody for the Will. For example, if we prepare your Will the original is kept in our safe and you are advised to make sure your executors and beneficiaries are aware that the Will is located at our office. DIY Legal Will kits are often left in the home and are subject to being lost or damage by accident, or worse, by an intentional act.
We occasionally respond to queries about whether somebody should try and do their own Will. If they think their estate is worthless or worth the same cost as a DIY Legal Will kit of less than $100.00, by all means have a go. Otherwise, we strongly recommend the Will be done properly by a lawyer.
If you do not have a Will, or need to update your Will, please contact a solicitor of your choice at our firm.