If I had a dollar for every time someone said this to me I could retire right now. You see everyone thinks that their circumstances are straightforward and it follows then that they believe that their Estate needs will be easily satisfied with either a “cheap Will”, a blank template where you enter names and addresses; or, even worse, a DIY Will Kit.
Truth is, few Wills actually are straightforward, and a generic Will rarely ‘cuts the mustard’ for most people. In fact, there are a tonne of situations that can make drafting a Will a complicated process best undertaken by an expert. Consider the following scenarios and ask yourself if any of these situations apply to you:
– Have you ever been divorced or separated?
– Following a separation or divorce have you remarried or have you commenced co-habiting with another person?
– Do you have children to two or more different people?
– Are you employed by the government and have superannuation with Super SA?
– Do you own real estate, wholly or with another person(s)?
– Have you ever been declared bankrupt?
– Have your children ever been declared bankrupt?
– Are you concerned that assets will be lost to children following a divorce?
– Following your divorce are you concerned about what might happen if your ex-spouse remarries?
– Do you own a business, wholly or with another person(s)?
– Do you own shares?
– Are you a professional and thus open to the risk of litigation (eg any professional, especially Lawyers, Doctors, Accountants and Financial Advisers)?
– Do you have children who are minors?
– Are you uncertain if you have a death benefit associated with your superannuation fund?
– Do you know who your beneficiary nominated in your superannuation is?
Each of the situations described above requires a high degree of personalisation when it comes to the drafting of a Will. This is not possible to do with a generic Will and definitely not possible with a DIY Will kit. Furthermore, some of these situations will necessitate drafting of a Testamentary Trust. This specific type of Will is best undertaken by an Estate Specialist, with many in the legal profession unskilled in this area.
There are many risks associated with generic and DIY Wills. In a nutshell they often prove grossly inadequate when it comes to meeting the needs of the ‘average person’, with the potential for unintended errors that may cost your beneficiaries large sums in legal costs. At Welden & Coluccio Lawyers, we have the know-how to ensure that every aspect of your circumstances is taken into consideration for the protection of your beneficiaries and your wishes.