I often receive enquiries from individuals wanting to make a Will for the first time. They are often surprised to hear that making a valid Will is not a “five minute job”. This is often followed by a comment to the effect, “can I just use the Will Kit I purchased from the post office?” Whilst I cannot stop people from using Will Kits to record their wishes, I strongly discourage it.
The six reasons I believe why a Will Kit should not be used, are:
- Your wishes may not be carried into effect.
- A Will Kit does not cover all bases.
- A Will Kit does not deal with your superannuation funds.
- Estate Planning is more than just making a Will – what about your business and investment assets?
- A Will Kit does not cater for blended families.
- A Will Kit opens the possibility for challenges to an Estate.
I have highlighted the first 3 reasons below and will provide the other reasons in a later blog to follow:
- Your wishes may not be carried into effect. A Will Kit is more susceptible to challenges as they can easily be misinterpreted and ambiguous if not drafted properly. A Will Kit is also less likely to be legally binding and executed correctly. It is important to note that a Will must conform to strict legal requirements otherwise the Courts may decide it is not valid. If that is the case, the Court will exercise its discretion and distribute your assets according to the law of intestacy, which may not be as you intended.
- A Will Kit does not cover all bases. It is fine to want to leave “everything to your partner and kids” however what happens if you all pass away together at a family event or the Will Kit is not drafted correctly? If this were to happen, then your estate would be dealt with as “intestate”. This creates the potential for all of your assets to pass to your partner’s family and your family may miss out. It will then come down to your partner’s family as to whether they decide to provide your family with a distribution.
- A Will Kit does not deal with your superannuation funds. Many people are under the assumption that their superannuation will automatically form part of their Estate and be distributed in accordance with their Will. That is not always the case and you should consult an experienced estate planning solicitor to ensure your funds are protected.
I will address the remaining three reasons in my next blog. If you want to correctly document your intentions and ensure your assets pass in accordance with your wishes, you should obtain the advice of an experienced estate planning lawyer. Please do not hesitate to contact me should you require assistance.