Can you write
your own Will? Yes, absolutely it’s
possible to write your own Will without a lawyer. But is it a good idea? What are you really saving yourself? And what might you be costing your loved ones
in the future?
Your Will is
one of the most important documents you will sign in your life. It’s up there with signing the contract to
buy a house or signing your name on your marriage certificate. Your Will is the document that sets out how
you want your estate dealt with when you die.
It determines what you leave to who, if you have kids it appoints their
testamentary guardians and sets out the framework for how their inheritance is
to be managed, and if you’re a business owner it can determine the succession
of your business. Your Will is a big
something you want to cut corners on?
Will kits and
online services seem good in theory. Work
your way through a form and at the end you have a ready to sign Will without
needing a lawyer! The thing is, there is
good reason that lawyers have years of study, experience, and a regulatory
requirement for ongoing learning. The
law for Wills comes from legislation made by Parliament and matters that have
already been settled in court, and the law continues to grow and shift as
swathes of court cases play out around the country.
what is meant by words used in a Will or how it has been signed usually ends with
the deceased’s family or loved ones in court trying to resolve those
issues. This can cost tens of thousands
of dollars. There are a multitude of
mistakes that can occur when drafting and finalising a Will; like incorrect
descriptions of the gift or the person receiving the gift, having the wrong
person witness the Will, or even confusion of whether you truly own what you
are trying to gift (is it jointly owned? Is it trust property?).
Before I start
drafting a Will, we have an initial consultation where I get to know you. We will discuss your family and financial
circumstances and your goals for your estate plan. Each Will and estate plan is a customised
strategy for each client’s particular circumstances and wishes for their estate
plan. That’s not something that can be
achieved by pre-filling an online questionnaire or mish-mashing parts of a form
together. It also means you receive
advice relevant to your circumstances like risks of future claims against your
estate, or how to choose the right testamentary guardian for your kids.
So, yes you
can write your own Will. But if your
Will goes wrong then the financial and emotional cost of that is left to your
family or loved ones to deal with after you die, and your estate may not pass
how you intended. The question I’ll
leave you with is, is that a risk worth taking?
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