DIY Wills are readily available online, at your local newsagency and post office for a fraction of the cost. Many people may think that you can easily purchase a Will Kit, fill in the blanks and save yourself hundreds of dollars on lawyer’s fees.
However, the hundreds of dollars that you may initially save may not ever make up for the issues, delays and costs down the road when your estate is not distributed in the manner that you intended as quality legal advice and proper care in drafting your Will was not obtained.
We outline some of the various advantages that we can offer you that a DIY Will cannot below;
Creating an estate plan
We consider and advise you on all the aspects relevant to your estate planning, not just your Will. We will suggest that you think about other contingencies including what happens if you ever become unable to make financial, personal and medical treatment decisions for yourself. We will advise and assist you to appoint someone to make these decisions on your behalf if required and draft the relevant documents for you to provide you with peace of mind
Ensuring that gifts do not fail
We consider the manner of holding of your assets and if you can actually gift these to your loved ones in your Will. For example, if you own a property with another person as joint proprietors, the surviving owner will automatically inherit the deceased person’s share regardless of what a Will states due to the rule of survivorship that operates at law.
We will conduct the relevant searches, assist you to dispose of your property as you intend to your beneficiaries and ensure that a gift does not fail.
Protecting your assets
An eligible person including but not limited to a current or former spouse or de facto partner or child may make a Testator Family Maintenance Claim against your estate if they believe that the proposed distribution is unfair. If they are successful in their claim, your estate may be distributed in an unintended manner regardless of your directions in your Will.
We have a great deal of experience in these matters. We can identify foreseeable issues and potential claimants. We will advise you on how to reduce the likelihood of a claim and protect your assets. Reducing the stress for your loved ones as well as the considerable delay and significant costs that may arise from a disputed estate.
We will advise you on how to structure your Will to protect your assets from unintended beneficiaries such as your spouse or children’s future partners. We may suggest creating a testamentary trust in your Will that comes into effect once you pass away. A testamentary trust allows beneficiaries to access favourable risk management in relation to their inheritance and provides protection for vulnerable beneficiaries.
Superannuation does not automatically form part of your estate and it is not dealt with in your Will. We will discuss your superannuation and death benefits with you. We will advise you how to ensure that your benefits are paid directly in accordance with your wishes.
Putting it into practice…
A DIY Will Kit is unlikely to consider the above. We discuss your family and personal circumstances, identify unique issues to your situation and how these can be correctly addressed. We will ensure that your Will is valid, complies with the strict legal requirements and it is tailored to protect your assets and loved ones.
Further, we will advise you of the circumstances in which you should consider amending your Will.