The term DIY (do it yourself) seems to be applied to just about everything these days, and a common DIY project that’s been around for quite a while now is the DIY will kit.
Everyone should have a will, but should you really prepare your own will? Are there any advantages to doing so other than maybe saving a bit of money?
Let’s learn more about the DIY will kit and whether you should consider entrusting your estate to a do it yourself document.
Are DIY Will Kits Legal?
A will kit can be purchased at Australia Post outlets and many other locations, as well as being done online. The one advantage the DIY kit has over dealing with a lawyer is obviously the more budget friendly price, but is a DIY will recognised as a legally binding document?
Technically a DIY will kit is classified as a genuine legal document, but there is a lot more to drafting up a will than scribbling your wishes down on a sheet of paper.
A will must conform to strict legal requirements, and then there’s the subject of estate planning, which is far more complicated in nature and really requires an expert to draw up accurately.
If you seriously have little in the way of property or worldly possessions, then a simple online or purchased in-store DIY will kit might suffice for your needs. On the other hand, if you own a lot of property, including possessions, and your affairs are far more complex, you’ll likely struggle to put together a decent and valid will all by yourself.
Another thing to keep in mind is this: There is actually more chance of someone contesting a will that has been prepared by the DIY method, rather than a will in testament put together by a law firm.
That’s not to say that a DIY will is always likely to be contested, but there is more chance of it due to people believing a will that hasn’t been drafted up by a solicitor is not as valid or a real legal document. People might also feel more confident – and even justified – challenging a will completed online or bought at a retail outlet.
DIY wills can also be misinterpreted. A practiced lawyer knows how to carefully draft and word a will so there is no confusion, but your average person doesn’t usually possess this skill. Also, a DIY will is often executed by a close friend or family member and not a lawyer, so once again this leaves things more open to being misinterpreted or contested.
There’s also the possibility of the person executing the will having a conflict of interest if they are also included within the will itself.
Don’t Take Chances With Your Will
It’s fine trying your hand at doing many things yourself in life, but a will is an extremely important document that you really want to get right. Therefore it’s far wiser to spend a bit of money and have it expertly prepared and drawn up by a qualified legal representative. It really is worth it.
Having a lawyer do it for you will save you the hassle and headaches of preparing it yourself for a start. You’ll also have peace of mind knowing that it’s been done right.
A lawyer will quickly pick up on any mistakes in your will too, such as leaving a certain asset to somebody when you may not fully own that asset. This could be a possession of some sort, or a business partnership.
You can’t leave your business to someone in full if someone else owns half of it.
The law firm you hire will also be charged with the responsibility of keeping your will safe. This way it won’t get lost or misplaced; something that could easily occur with a self-made will.
DIY wills could also more easily be forged or altered by a third party, so that’s another key point to consider.
The bottom line is it’s a lot safer to go through a lawyer than to DIY when it comes to a document as vitally important as your will.