Things To Consider Before Using A DIY Will Kit
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A DIY Will kit is a do-it-yourself option for preparing a Last Will and Testament. They can be found online or in hard copy, and often purport to be a cost-effective and hassle-free way to prepare a Will without having to visit a lawyer.
Before using a DIY Will kit, there are some important things you should consider. Here are some of the key things to know about DIY Will kits and why engaging an experienced Wills and Estates lawyer is usually a safer option.
What risks are involved with using a will kit?
A DIY kit will only provide a basic framework for the creation of a Will. It does not provide you with legal advice or guidance, and it is not something that can be used for complicated estates. Due to these limitations, you may end up having to engage a lawyer after all to prepare a Will the way you had originally intended.
More importantly, if you prepare a DIY Will which does not correctly reflect your wishes or is defective, and you die or are rendered incapable of preparing a new Will, the results could be catastrophic.
There are many common aspects of Will drafting that people fail to consider, such as;
- What happens if one of my executors or beneficiaries predeceases me;
- What if an asset specifically gifted is disposed of before my death;
- How is my superannuation and life insurance dealt with when I die;
- How do types of ownership of assets affect my estate planning;
- Is there a risk that my estate will be subject to a Family Provision Application;
- What happens to trust and business assets, and who will take control of these entities;
- Who is responsible for paying off my mortgage;
- Is it relevant if one of my beneficiaries is a non-resident for tax purposes;
- Will my new husband change his Will after I die and remove my children as beneficiaries?
The above list outlines merely a few things that a Will drafter should consider. In reality, the list of considerations is practically endless. Should a Will drafter fail to correctly articulate their testamentary intentions, it may result in unintended and devasting consequences for friends and family which are legally binding except in extremely limited circumstances which may require expensive court litigation.
A DIY Will drafter must also ensure that the Will is executed correctly, as failure to comply with the appropriate formalities will result in the Will being deemed invalid. Again, this may require expensive court litigation to resolve.
Why should I seek a lawyer to prepare my will instead of using a DIY will kit?
A Will is an incredibly important document and it is therefore crucial that it is prepared correctly. A lawyer is a skilled professional who will understand the laws relating to estate planning and give proper consideration to you and your family’s specific circumstances, and tailor your Will accordingly.
A lawyer will ensure the Will is executed as required and will be able to provide advice on complex issues, such as blended families or estranged children who may need to be accounted for. A Will created using a DIY kit may not consider factors such as tax implications and superannuation. If you use a lawyer to prepare your Will they can provide you with advice about how your beneficiaries may be impacted by certain taxes (such as Capital Gains Tax, if they inherit a property) and how to ensure your superannuation is distributed to the beneficiary of your choosing.
Most importantly, seeking the assistance of a professional will mean you can rest assured that you and your intended beneficiaries will not have to deal with undue legal issues and associated costs because your Will was drafted incorrectly.
While it may seem like a cheap and easy way to complete your will, a Will kit may cause more problems and cost more money in the long run. By engaging a lawyer who specialises in Wills and Estate planning in the first instance, you can prepare your Will exactly as planned without concern.
If you would like advice on your Will, speak to an expert at Cairns Wills & Estates Lawyers today.