Don't risk a DIY Will!

Perils of a DIY Will kitThe do-it-yourself trend and the internet  have made writing your own will  seem like an easy way to get your affairs in order. But it’s not as simple as it  seems and there’s no substitute for proper  advice from a  qualified lawyer, no  matter how straightforward you think your affairs are.

What appears to be a cost-effective solution can be financially and  emotionally draining for those you leave behind should a home-made will go  wrong, and there are plenty of examples of that happening. The  legal dispute  over the assets of car-racing identity Peter Brock springs to mind.

Other  examples, involving relatively small estates, have been just as  protracted. In one case, the Supreme Court had to rule on the validity of a  home-made will covering an estate of just a property and a boat. Courts have  also been involved when multiple home-made wills were found. Such proceedings  are costly and potentially cut into the estate.

Here’s why you should seek legal advice on writing a will.

1   Your affairs are more complex than you think Drafting a  will can be complicated, no matter the size of the estate. Nearly all of us have  superannuation but this isn’t automatically dealt with in a will. Put young  children into the equation and more intricacies are involved.

2   Your words can be misconstrued Using your own words  rather than legal terminology might create ambiguity.

3   You can have more control over who you exclude If you  decide to omit someone from your will, it might not be as simple as making a  statement in the will regarding the person and reason. Such statements might  make the person more likely to challenge.

4   More control over your wishes Allegations of duress or  mental incapacity in relation to you after you die will generally be more  difficult to rebut if a  qualified lawyer has not been engaged in the  will-making process.

5   Signing and witnessing will be done correctly Each  jurisdiction in Australia has  specific legislation in relation to the signing  and witnessing of wills. This is commonly done incorrectly in many home-made  wills.

6   You’ll receive advice on who is the best executor and trustee Receiving  advice in relation to the  role of the executor and trustee  of your will is important. Simply appointing a  family member  is not  necessarily appropriate. Does this person have the time and expertise, or even  want to assume the role? What if they pass away first?

7   Your beneficiaries may be better off A properly drafted  will can create tax and asset-protection advantages for beneficiaries.

Using a lawyer to prepare your will and advise on  estate planning is a small  price to pay to protect your wealth and ensure your wishes are adhered to after  you pass away.

Source: The Age