The Pitfalls of Homemade Wills

The Pitfalls of Homemade Wills 22 April 2022
Pitfalls of homemade wills

In uncertain times, a homemade Will or DIY Will Kit are tempting for those trying to cut down on costs. Even to many lawyers, Will making appears to be straightforward. But if it is not undertaken properly, it can result in your Estate taking longer, and being more expensive, to administer.

What are common issues with homemade Wills?

  • Failing to execute the Will properly, including complying with witnessing requirements.
  • Giving away assets that the deceased doesn’t own – including life insurance and superannuation.
  • Failing to dispose of all of the Estate. Failing to describe assets adequately. Losing the Will.
  • Not appointing an Executor.
  • Not considering tax implication.
  • Failing to gift assets to the intended recipients.
  • Failing to consider people who are eligible to contest the Estate.
  • Not contemplating future and changed circumstances.

In the matter of Trevor Alan Thompson as executor of the estate of Angela Helen Thompson vvs Upton [2021] recently heard by the Western Australian Supreme Court, the judicial officer discussed the ongoing folly of person litigation contesting the interpretation of the deceased’s homemade Will. The case resulted in the Estate being consumed by hefty legal fees which would have otherwise been gifted to beneficiaries if the Will had been drafted properly in the first place.

When thinking of the pitfalls of making a homemade Will, the old saying ‘you pay for what you get’ comes to mind. What might save you some money now, may cost your Estate greatly later.

What happens at a consultation for Wills?

If a client is looking to make a Will, we ask that they attend an initial appointment with one of our experienced lawyers. We will discuss what your Estate comprises and what you are hoping to achieve. We will talk to you about any assets falling outside of your Estate and how that might impact your testatmentary planning. We will talk to you about the risk of a possible family provision claim, which is always pertinent for blended families, and what steps you could put in place to mitigate that risk, including a testatmentary trust, life interest or mutual Will.

If you have children that are minors, we will talk to you about whether a testamentary trust is appropriate and the appointment of a testamentary guardian. We will also discuss your wider Estate Planning and if you have a Power of Attorney and Appointment of Enduring Guardian in place.

We then draft your documents in accordance with your instructions and meet with you at a second appointment to execute your documents.

If you would like to discuss your Will and Estate Planning, Contact Us today to meet with one of our Estate Planning lawyers. We have years of experience, helping clients with their Estate planning needs throughout Newcastle, Lake Macquarie and the Hunter region.

This blog was written by Senior Associate,
 Liz McIntyre
Liz practises in the areas of Family Law, Wills & Estate Planning,
Deceased Estates, Wills disputes and Conveyancing

We are here to help you! Contact us now.