Members of the public are often presented with “Do-It-Yourself” Will kits from a variety of sources which are provided at little or no cost.
The preparation of what is presumed to be a straightforward document for minimal expense, in comparison to the fee which would need to be paid to a lawyer to meet with you and prepare a traditional form of Will, can turn out to be a costly decision for your estate.
The uncertainty of meaning, and the oversight and omissions which frequently plague such documents provides a fertile ground for estate litigation. Some common difficulties arising with such Wills, which have resulted in the need to file an Application with the Supreme Court for clarification or rectification, have been:
- The executor named under the Will having passed away and there is no provision in the Will for a substitute executor;
- A specific gift being made to a beneficiary and the nature of the item being gifted has changed at the time of death of the testator;
- Disputes arising between beneficiaries regarding the true meaning of words used by the testator;
- The document has not been signed correctly or properly witnessed;
- Inappropriate conditions being placed upon some bequests;
- The testator failing to dispose of their entire estate leading to a partial intestacy; and
- The testator making handwritten changes to the Will which have not been witnessed or dated.
These are just some of the issues which have arisen in relation to Wills prepared from “Do‑It‑Yourself” kits. Such errors will inevitably cause the estate, and ultimately the beneficiaries, considerable and unnecessary expense.
Ensuring that your Will is properly prepared by a qualified lawyer experienced in estate administration will avoid your estate incurring unnecessary costs and your beneficiaries being deprived of their full entitlement through the adoption of a “one size fits all” Will kit.
ABKJ Lawyers has many years of experience in the preparation of Wills and the administration of estates and would be happy to advise you on issues which might arise in your particular circumstances, and the appropriate provisions which should be considered for your Will.