The dangers of DIY Wills

23 December 2015

A Will is one of the most important legal documents that you will make in your lifetime and it is worth taking a little trouble to get it right.

Having a valid, legal and high quality Will prepared is very simple and will secure your wishes for the future.

While many people try to save a few hundred dollars by using a DIY Will Kit, it may cost them or their loved ones more in the long run.

It’s not uncommon for a DIY Will to cost an Estate tens of thousands of dollars because the Will wasn’t drafted or executed properly.

While some of the mistakes can be fixed – many cannot.

Common problems with DIY Wills

  • The Will is not properly executed or witnessed
  • Inappropriate Executors appointed
  • Estate not disposed of properly due to the drafting of the Will
  • Assets not properly accounted for in the Will
  • Residuary Estate isn’t effectively disposed of resulting in Legislation determining the distribution of the remaining Estate
  • Uncertain Terms of Will resulting in expensive Court action to determine the meaning of the Will
  • Gifts not properly described or inappropriate conditions applied to them
  • Superannuation and Family Trusts (which are not part of the Estate) not dealt with effectively
  • Failure to consider Tax – this requires detailed knowledge of Tax and Succession laws
  • Claims against the Estate not considered and protected against.

What makes a Will Legal or Valid?

While this is a valid question, it’s important to realise that a Will can be valid but still not be sufficient enough to meet your needs and wishes.

The laws governing the legal requirements for preparing a valid and legal Will vary from state to state, in general terms you must:

  • Be at least 18 years old and understand what you are doing (have testamentary capacity)
  • Ensure that your specific wishes are in writing
  • Have the document signed in the presence of two witnesses.

You can see from these requirements that a Will can be valid but still be insufficient – it will depend on the Will drafting, contents and level of expertise of the person who created it.


But my Will is simple

A DIY Will kit caters for only the simplest of Wills (and even then can be problematic) but let’s face it, whose family and personal circumstances are simple these days?

Dealing with blended families, people you’d like to exclude from a Will, managing different types of assets or if you’re a business owner, requires a more complex Will and certain expertise and knowledge.

You need someone to help you cater for your unique personal circumstances.

Getting help with a Will

There are many services available to help you with a Will, but you must be sure that the person attempting the task is not under qualified.

You should enlist the help of a professionally qualified expert who can help navigate any complexities you’re facing.

What happens if I already have a DIY Will?

You should consult an expert and get a high quality and up-to-date Will before it’s too late.

What next?

Every Will is unique and we have the expertise to help navigate any complexities that exist or could arise.

Contact Gill & Lane Solicitors at Sandgate via, or 3269 8111 for a free, no obligation consultation.