Do-it-yourself Will Kit – What you use before they come to see the lawyers to fix everything up…
Most of us work tirelessly over 30 or 40 years to accumulate our wealth with the intention that we pass that wealth on to the next generation after our death. In the interest of saving a few dollars people often resort to the use of Do-It-Yourself (DIY) Will kits, colloquially known as newsagency Wills. DIY Wills have a myriad of pitfalls for the unsuspecting user.
Respected Gold Coast Estate Planning Lawyer Richard Dawson says to avoid these DIY Wills at all costs. DIY Wills have many “fill in the blanks” sections which, if completed correctly, created a legally binding document. If not, then lawyers are usually engaged in a very expensive exercise of determining what the Will-maker intended before his or her death.
DIY Wills usually cost between $20-$40 and then the Will-maker has to spend time completing the DIY Will with the hope that it reflects accurately their wishes. On the flip side, a simple and straightforward Will prepared by a lawyer can cost but a little more. Knowing you have peace of mind it is a very small price to pay. The Succession Act stipulates very strict requirements regarding the preparation of, signing and administration of Wills. One tiny error could render the Will entirely invalid. If this occurs then the deceased person is said to have died ‘intestate’, that is, without a valid Will.
When a person dies intestate an application must be made to the Supreme Court before a deceased person’s estate can be properly and legally administered. Depending on the circumstances, the person who has the right to apply to the Court may be very different from the person the Will-maker original intended. Richard says that any person contemplating making their Will should always use a qualified, experienced, estate planning lawyer so as to avoid the costly expense and anguish associated with Supreme Court applications.
Newsagencies should be seen only as a place to purchase your newspapers, magazines and lotto tickets, not a one-stop-shop for your legal documents. Having a lawyer prepare your Will is not only sound estate planning advice but highly recommended if you want to protect your family assets. He says the cost of professional legally prepared Wills is insignificant in comparison to the costs of a Supreme Court application.