The pitfalls of a DIY Will

Have you ever purchased flat pack furniture and realised the instructions are unclear or don’t cover every step required to build it, and you attempt to fix it and only make the problem worse? Well DIY Will kits are the same and can come with useless instructions that result in an half-finished inadequate document. 

A Will is one of the most important legal documents that you will sign in your lifetime, it is important that you get it right.

Getting a DIY Will kit from the newsagent and filling it out may seem simple and inexpensive at the time, but they usually end up being incorrect and fail to achieve your wishes resulting in increased legal fees following your death.

The risk with a DIY Will kit is that it can easily become ineffective or invalid and at risk of being contested. 

A number of online companies, and online only law firms offer easy Will drafting options. These websites advertise on social media in an attempt to entice you into their impersonal electronic world. They offer quick and cheap wills at the press of a button usually claiming to be drafted by ‘real lawyers’. But like DIY Will kits they can still have problems and can cause pain and suffering for your family following your death.

Common errors with a DIY and online Wills

The following are some of the most common mistakes made when completing a DIY Will;

  • The Will has not been dated
  • Leaving assets that you don’t own or have control of – such as superannuation or jointly owned property
  • Including incorrect names in the Will
  • Handwriting being unreadable in DIY Wills
  • The original document being lost or destroyed
  • Not having the Will witnessed properly
  • Not appointing an executor, or alternative executors
  • Overlooking changes in circumstances or alternative scenarios, resulting in partial intestacy where the estate cannot be distributed for lack of a beneficiary.  

Basic errors like this can either invalidate your Will or create problems or disputes that take time and money to resolve. This can be hard on your loved ones, especially at an already difficult time following your death.

So, what is the best way to make a Will you ask?

Our advice is don’t make a DIY Will or fall for the online Will option, it may seem inexpensive and easy now but the consequences of it being incorrect and invalid are going to cost your estate and your family more in the long run.

The benefit of having a Will made by one of our succession planning Lawyers, is the guarantee that your Will is valid, reflects your wishes and can be easily carried out on your death. As Lawyers we consider a range of different factors when making your Will, and we can foresee potential issues that may arise. We can ensure that children with special needs are protected, or draft a range of clauses to protect children with drug or gambling problems, or to protect members within a blended family, or to provide asset protection advice to help limit the risk of your estate being contested. Most importantly you get to talk to and meet a real person who can talk you through every aspect of your Will. The advice, support, and knowledge you receive from our Lawyers is incomparable to anything you will receive from a DIY Will.

Don’t treat your Will like a piece of flat pack furniture, do it properly and it will serve you and your family well. 

For more information about what a Will is and who can make a Will, please click here

If you would like to make an appointment with a member of the Beck Legal Succession Planning team please call 54453333.

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