While the digital age has made a lot of everyday tasks easier (thank goodness for airtasker and online banking), not all of life’s errands should be solved using the Internet. This is most evident when it comes to legally binding documents; especially creating your Will.
While most of us know the importance of having a Will in place, too many Australians are falling victim to the common trap of completing their Will online. These seemingly innocuous kits are enticing to the consumer as they promise a convenient, faster, and ultimately cheaper way to create a legally valid Will.
As with many things in life, if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.
While a DIY Will itself may be valid, there are many serious problems that frequently arise when your Will is administered in this way. These are issues that can only be avoided when seeking legal counsel during the process.
So, what are some things that frequently go wrong with DIY and online Wills?
It is fair to say that, when preparing your own Will, your mind is bound to be filled with distractions. Inattention to detail can easily result in mistakes, with the omission of a signature, lack of a witness, or a failure to include a date being common errors. Such mistakes have the potential to cause major headaches down the track, especially if there are other previously executed Wills floating about. In these situations, it is often up to the Court to determine which document is the most recent or, in the case of a missing signature or lack of a witness, if it is even valid. These situations serve to delay the outcome for beneficiaries and most certainly add to the final legal cost.
When creating your Will, your beneficiaries, usually your loved ones, are the number one priority. With large families, especially in blended situations, it is common for DIY Will-makers to leave someone out (accidentally or on purpose). Once you’re gone it is too late to make amendments, and large legal costs will be incurred in order to defend an inheritance claim and the emotional heartache caused to your loved ones. Furthermore, it is not uncommon for the wrong assets to be left to beneficiaries and, even worse, assigning assets you don’t actually own. All of these situations place immense emotional and financial burdens on your beneficiaries.
Lawyers are trained to identify and understand the subtle nuances and legal implications of each and every legal decision you make related to your estate. They know how best to communicate this to avoid any misunderstanding and to navigate around potential roadblocks.
Unfortunately, without this understanding, many DIY Wills fail to communicate wishes effectively, or simply express wishes that are legally unachievable. A skilled solicitor will help you understand and solve issues before they have the chance to arise. Furthermore, with legal counsel involved, you can also avoid making the common mistake of misplacing or losing a Will.
Why you should seek a solicitor
When it comes to life, nothing is more important than family. Your estate documents provide the final opportunity to communicate an enduring legacy of your love. As an ultimate act of devotion, it is critical that your Will is created and stored in a safe and secure manner. While online will kits are a tempting option, there are many areas where things can go wrong and loopholes can be found, leaving your family in turmoil when you’re gone.
Don’t let headaches and costly legal fees be a part of your final legacy.
Only a qualified and experienced solicitor has the know-how to navigate this process with ease. With a lawyer on your side you can do it right the first time and avoid hefty financial costs to your family and estate in future. A skilled solicitor will work with you and your family (no matter how complex your situation may be), to make this process a comfortable one, giving you and your family peace of mind for years to come.