Creating a will is very important so you can make sure you name a guardian for your minor children, and so you can ensure that your money and property pass to those who you want to inherit. Many people who know they need a will consider using a DIY will kit because they believe it will be cheaper and easier than getting legal advice. The reality, however, is that using a DIY will kit could leave you and those you love with much higher costs in the long-run and could create significant legal problems.

When you pass away, your loved ones will be dealing with grief and sadness – you do not want to leave them with a legal mess to take care of. Contact Owen Hodge Lawyers to speak with an experienced legal professional who can help you to create a legally-valid will that is likely to be enforced by the courts after your death.

Why a DIY Will Kit Could End Up Costing More

Using a DIY will kit can end up creating significant costs and problems for many different reasons. Some of the big reasons why it could be a serious mistake to use a DIY will kit include the following:

  • A DIY will kit will not give you any legal advice or guidance. Most people do not know how to create a will, and the basic kit they receive is not going to help them with all of the technicalities and particulars applicable under estate laws. This means you could create a will that is not executed correctly or that leaves out key information like who should be appointed as executor of your estate. Your heirs could end up spending a lot of money on legal costs if your will is not enforceable or if there are questions about your wishes after your death. This eats into the inheritance you hope to leave behind.
  • A DIY will kit only provides you with the basic framework for creating a will. If you have any complexities associated with your estate at all, you may be unable to determine how to include the provisions you need in your will. You could end up having to hire a lawyer anyway just to get the job done, but you would have already spent unnecessary funds on a kit that is not helpful.
  • Someone could inherit that you would not have chosen. When you want to give a gift to particular people, you do not want your money to be wasted going to someone who you would not want to inherit. Unfortunately, leaving someone out of your will is not necessarily as simple as just saying you want your assets distributed to others. Under Succession Act 2006, certain people are vested with the rights to challenge your will. They could prevail if your will was not created in perfect accordance with the law- and your heirs would lose out on all of the funds that they would otherwise have received. If a gift fails (like if you leave money to someone who dies before you), the funds could also be inherited by someone you’d prefer not to be a beneficiary, unless you have taken steps to ensure the correct people receive the gifts you leave behind. A DIY will is not going to account for these complicated situations.
  • Your will could be challenged. While a will can be challenged under many circumstances (even when a lawyer helps create it), a challenge may have a greater chance of success if a DIY will kit was used and if any mistakes were made. Your heirs could end up having to spend more money on legal fees fighting for the inheritance you left them, and these legal fees would eat into the estate.
  • Your heirs could end up paying more in taxes. Capital gains tax can sometimes apply when a change in ownership occurs, even if the change is prompted because the owner passed away. However, CGT may not be disregarded if a post-CGT asset passes to a foreign resident or a tax-advantaged entity. Your lawyer can help you to understand the tax implications associated with the gifts you are making in your will.

You have worked hard to acquire an estate and leave a legacy. Give us a call at 1800 770 780 or contact us via ohl@owenhodge.com.au for help protecting everything you have worked for and ensuring you can make gifts to beneficiaries with a valid will.