The availability of online documents and templates make writing your own Will seem easy and of course, cost effective. However, there is no substitute for legal advice from a qualified, experienced professional no matter how ‘simple’ you might think your affairs are.
Over the years there have been numerous examples of ‘when home-made Wills go wrong’, often in relatively small estates where the involvement of the Court on the death of the will-maker has not only drawn out the process but has left little estate to be distributed.
Not only can your affairs be more complex than you think, drafting a Will can be complicated; especially when considering issues such as dealing with Superannuation tax effectively, the succession of assets held in Family Trusts and guardianship of young children. Not to mention the complexities that arise if you or your partner have children of a prior relationship.
When you draft your own Will, using your own words you risk that your words might be misconstrued, or you might not think to include clauses to deal with contingencies. Having a legal professional involved in the drafting and signing of your Will ensures that the formal legal requirements will be met and your will is properly drafted.
Any challenge made after your death based on allegations of undue influence or lack of capacity at the time of making your Will are generally more difficult when a solicitor has been involved in the drafting.
A solicitor drafting your Will can also help you prepare other documents to make sure that all of your assets not covered by a Will are dealt with according to your wishes.
Finally, a properly drafted, legally considered Will together with other succession planning documents can create tax and asset-protection advantages for your beneficiaries so that in the long run they are better off.
The expense of having a solicitor draft your Will and provide advice in relation to your estate planning is really just a small price to pay as “insurance” to protect your wealth (as far as possible) and ensure your wishes are adhered to after you pass away.
If you require estate planning advice, or you would like to take this opportunity to update your succession planning documents please do not hesitate to contact our office.