The dangers of a DIY will
Do-It-Yourself jobs can be dangerous, particularly when the person attempting the task is under qualified. Attempting to paint the house or lay those pavers without knowing how may end up costing considerably more in the long term than the money saved in the first place.
Do-It-Yourself wills fall into the same category. Mistakes made when drafting a will using a take-home will kit could mean that your estate incurs considerable cost through the Court system to rectify certain parts of the will. Even worse, your estate may not end up being distributed as you wished.
There are a number of errors that are easy to make when following instructions in a will kit. The most common mistakes that we have seen include:
- The Will being incorrectly signed or incorrectly witnessed;
- Appointing inappropriate executors;
- Describing gifts incorrectly;
- Failing to nominate beneficiaries for the residual of the estate;
- Gifts that are unable to be distributed due to inaccurate wording; and
- Use of staples or paperclips.
Generally, a DIY will kit will only allow you to incorporate issues that fall in to the category of a ‘simple will’. More often than not there are complex issues that come in to play which will need to be specifically addressed within the will.
For example you may have step-children you want to include as beneficiaries, or you may wish to exclude someone from your will. Excluding someone who has a claim on your estate is something which must be considered carefully, and advice from a legal representative should be obtained.
Superannuation is quickly becoming the largest asset held by a many people and considering the way the superannuation is to be dealt with at your death is very important. We have found that DIY wills do not adequately address this issue and again legal advice should be obtained to ensure that one of your largest assets is dealt with appropriately.
DIY wills are also inadequate if you are a business owner. You may wish for your part of the business to be gifted to a particular person. Considerations must be had for how your business is structured i.e. company, partnership or sole trader. There are tax implications that also require advice which you will not receive if you do-it-yourself.
How we can help
If you are concerned about your current will and wish to speak with a solicitor about ensuring that you leave a lasting legacy, please contact Craig Mason on (07) 3667 8966 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.