What are the risks of using DIY will kits?
The law relating to wills is both complex and precise and there are many hidden traps for the inexperienced. Many words used in wills have particular legal meanings that are not readily apparent or understood by people without legal training. If you attempt to write your own will, you run the risk of creating unintended or unjust results, not to mention heartache for your family.
If your will is ambiguous, your executors might need to apply to the Court for an order as to the meaning of the will. This will add significantly to the legal costs borne by your estate, cause stress for your executors and beneficiaries alike, and delay the estate’s administration. When the time comes for your estate to be dealt with, you’re not around to give evidence as to what you intended your will to mean. Therefore your will must perfectly encapsulate your intentions. This requires both skill and a sound knowledge of the law relating to wills. You might save a few hundred dollars at the time by drafting your own will but you might costs your beneficiaries tens of thousands of dollars in legal costs getting a Court to determine the meaning of your Will.
Another trap is that many people are not aware of the formal requirements for a will and they either execute or have the will witnessed in a way that does not comply with the law. A solicitor knows the rules and will ensure that your will complies with all the formal requirements.
A Solicitor will also think of many possibilities and contingencies that could occur which should be covered by your will, and present you with different options so that you can make an informed decision about the best way to structure your Will to ensure your wishes are achieved. There are many things that people without legal training may not think of.
When taking instructions for your will, our wills and estate lawyers at Catherine Henry Lawyers will also be able to advise you on matters relating to estate planning, superannuation and possible family provision claims.
If you wish to discuss your will, or any other aspect of your estate planning, feel free to contact one of our Estate Planning lawyers on 02 4929 3995.