Let's face it - most of us are time poor, and most of us are reluctant to spend extra money where it seems like there is a less expensive alternative. Preparing your own Will from a Will Kit seems to address both of these - easy to do at home, and a lot less money than seeing a lawyer… or so it would seem.
But the truth is that Will Kits or home-made Wills often create problems. Anecdotal evidence suggests that when such Wills are taken to get Probate (the Court-stamped approval of a Will that is usually needed when someone passes away), about 70% of them run into a problem. Sometimes this is small, other times it results in lengthy disputes. Either way, it costs a LOT more than doing the Will properly in the first place.
There are many reasons why a Will Kit Will might run aground, but here are the top five:
- It hasn't been signed correctly
The laws around how a Will is to be signed are quite exacting. Failure to adhere to them causes delays at best after death, invalidity of the Will at worst.
- It doesn't account for your superannuation
Superannuation does not automatically fall into a Will, although many people assume it does. At best this leads to unnecessary delay, but it can also often lead to unequal distributions between the people you intended to benefit equally, and then disputes. In the event of a Will challenge, it can also mean your super is at risk when it didn't need to be.
- It doesn't cover all of your assets
It is common to see Wills kits which list everything a person believes they own, but leave no instructions for what is to happen to the "left over" - ie- any other assets they own. Those assets are then distributed by the scheme set out by the government. This can also apply where the Will hasn't been worded correctly.
- It doesn't account for joint assets
Joint assets do not form part of a Will and special care needs to be taken to ensure they pass as you intend.
- It's not completed
Many people start a Will kit and then find it all a bit "too hard", and so it sits in the drawer half done. This can cause even greater problems than a completed Will kit.
Many of these same down-falls apply to the new breed of readily available internet or bot Wills, in which you never actually have contact with a lawyer. If you don't have time to come see us in person, you can always utilise our online Wills Express service, where one of our lawyers will still speak with you and review your documents.
A Will Kit also does not help you think through whether your Will needs a clause in relation to any family trusts, debts you may be owed, advancements you may have made to children or whether your Will might be challenged. Our team can help you think through these issues and more and ensure your Will covers all of your assets and distributes them in the way you want. We also offer secure storage of your original Wills so it does not get lost or destroyed, providing you with peace of mind. Spending a few hundred dollars now to get the right advice and have a valid Will can save your estate thousands of dollars after your death.
We have seen case after case of problems with Will Kit Wills - these are not just scare tactics. To avoid problems for your family, book a meeting with us today!