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OH NO! DON’T DIY YOUR WILL

There are many things in life that you can DIY (do-it-yourself) – and there are also many that you cannot (or at least, really, really shouldn’t). One of the things that should not ‘DIY’d’ is the Will.

Even though you can go and buy a DIY Will Kit from the post office or a news agent, unless you are an expert in Wills yourself you really cannot rely on these, for at least the following reasons:

1. At best, they are only good for a “simple Will”. What that really means is a simple family situation, where you are a couple or single person with only a few beneficiaries and you all live in absolute harmony, possibly owning your own home and otherwise you only have limited and straightforward possessions, such as some household goods and a few bank accounts. So if you were able to time-warp yourself back to the 1950’s, you might be okay. But the moment you have something else (such as superannuation – and these days that’s everybody!) then the Will Kit won’t be enough.

2. Plus, families will have no way of really knowing if the DIY Will is suitable for you, because there is no advice. Sure, there may be lots of information provided with the kit, but how do you apply it? And how do you even know if it is correct?

3. There is also the issue of how good the kit is in the first place. You can be guaranteed that it has not been prepared by an “expert” (even if it says so on the packaging) – because a real expert would never let anyone do their own Will using a Will Kit!

4. Even if you managed to put a “proper” Will together, there is the big issue of getting it signed correctly without legal assistance. The Courts are littered with cases of DIY Wills that were not signed correctly and the resulting problems of beneficiaries fighting for control of the estate.

5. Finally, at the end of the day you have to acknowledge that “you don’t know what you don’t know”. Without the help of a properly qualified and experienced advisor, you may not realise the issues that you are missing in your “simple” family situation – how to deal with non-estate assets such as superannuation or assets held jointly (especially your own home) or a family trust; children or other beneficiaries with special needs, or who are still young when you die; families with second spouses and children of previous relationships; and so on.

If you have any concerns about your Will, please be in touch with us we can help put in place the safe guards you may require. Don’t be tempted to save a few dollars now with a DIY Will Kit, because you may end up risking your entire estate later – and at a time when your family can least afford it!

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