You know need a Will. Should you do it yourself using a legal kit or should you ask a lawyer to draft it?
There are two main risks with DIY Wills.
First, there’s a high chance you will sign it incorrectly. Each State in Australia has specific legislation about the signing and witnessing of Wills. The kit will come with extensive instructions on how to sign your Will correctly. However, it is amazing how many times such instructions are not understood or followed.
We know this because during our Wills conferences, we explain in detail how to sign a Will and Power of Attorney and then provide detailed follow-up written advice repeating these steps and we encourage our clients to call us if they have any questions during the signing of their Wills. Yet when our clients send us back their signed documents for checking, we still see some with signing errors that need to be re-signed. And our clients are clever cookies! It is just that Will and Power of Attorney signing isn’t straightforward.
Clients also often forward us copies of their previous Wills. So often where this is a DIY Will, it has been signed, witnessed or dated incorrectly.
Second, whilst for some people, the limited options provided by a DIY kit will be OK for their purposes, for many it will not. No matter how well it is put together, no kit can cater for the infinite variety of circumstances that affects what sort of Will a person needs. If the DIY Will doesn’t meet your needs, the outcome could be disastrous for your family, especially if you have a blended family, young children, troubled beneficiaries or complicated financial and family arrangements.
There is also the risk that your words will create ambiguity or be misconstrued or won’t be able to be put into effect. Poor drafting may cause a result quite different from what you intended.
Finally, a lawyer can correct any misunderstandings (such as what assets can or can’t be dealt with via a Will) or discuss different options with you, such as who to appoint as executor or the most tax effective method of distribution. They can also remind you to read over your Will every few years and determine if your changed circumstances require a new Will. Or they can draft your Will to contemplate future life changes, such as marriage or additional children, so you don’t need to update your Will when this happens.
We all have wishes about how our assets should be distributed after our death.
A well-drafted Will gives you peace of mind that you have done all you can to enable your wishes to be fulfilled and your loved ones provided for.
Get your Wills sorted with Nest Legal. You can start providing instructions now: http://www.nestlegal.com.au/wills-and-end-of-life-planning/