DIY Will Kits and homemade Wills
Will kits can be purchased online for as little as $31.50. Many people wonder why they would need to see a lawyer to have their Will drafted professionally if they can do it themselves.
However homemade Wills can be troublesome because they may appear reasonable and clear, but in practice or from a legal perspective this may not be the case. For example:
- If you leave a specific property to a child on certain conditions, those conditions may not be enforceable.
- You need to consider taxation implications. Giving an investment property to one child and your home of equal value to your other child may result in those children receiving an unequal inheritance because of capital gains tax (CGT).
- If you give a property to one of your beneficiaries which has a mortgage over it, you will need to use precise language if you want the beneficiary to assume liability for the mortgage or receive the gift free of that liability.
- Joint assets don’t form part of the estate because the survivor is entitled to your interest. Likewise, land owned by a trust may not form part of your estate even though you may think of it as yours. If you have divided your estate on the incorrect assumption that certain assets form part of your estate, then your Will could lead to unintended unfairness.
Challenges to a Will
It is important to consider who may have a claim to your estate and to ensure that they are adequately provided for. What amounts to adequate provision is a legal issue which may not reflect your personal view.
There could be a good reason why you wish to leave someone out of your Will. For example you might have given one family member a substantial financial gift in the past and therefore excluded that person in the Will.
If adequate provision is not made for certain persons (e.g. your partner and children) or certain persons are left out of your Will, then there is a risk that the Will may be challenged. By obtaining legal advice and a professionally prepared Will, this risk can be reduced or eliminated.
If you don’t want certain family members to inherit anything then a statement giving your reasons may be included in the Will or in an accompanying document. That may not prevent any challenges to your Will, but could amount to a strong defence.
- Offer advice in relation to your Will to ensure that your Will is clear and practical.
- Help you navigate the pitfalls and ensure that your Will correctly reflects your wishes and avoid any unintended consequences.
- Minimise the risk of your Will being challenged which can lead to costly legal disputes.
- Ensure that your Will is properly signed and witnessed and that your Will complies with all legal requirements.
- Give you piece of mind.
Disputes regarding the meaning and effect of Wills can be costly and are very easily avoided by having a lawyer draft your Will. The cost of having a Will professionally prepared is small compared to the potential cost of legal disputes.
We offer a fixed price for standard Wills. If your Will is complex (non-standard) then we can give you a realistic estimate of the cost.