You can- but it is not a great idea!
Many people think that they can draft their own will using forms downloaded from the Internet, or a “Do It Yourself Will” kit. They think they can save money doing so. It may however result in a situation involving avoidable stress and further expense.
I have seen situations where:
- * A man’s will (drafted 20 years earlier) left his estate to his wife. He and his wife had since separated, and had entered other relationships without obtaining a formal divorce.
- * A will gave large sums to two relatives with no explanation of how they were to be used. The family of the deceased, claimed the amounts were intended for upkeep of the family home and payment of rates- but the will had no instructions regarding these matters.
- * A man with six children had a will, which divided his estate between his surviving children. It meant any grandchildren would be excluded if their parents passed away before the client. When I asked him about this he was quick to say “but that’s not I wanted”…
Lawyers are experts in the law. Much like surgery, you would not attempt to operate on yourself, but you would have a surgeon with the requisite knowledge and skill to perform the operation on you.
The same goes for lawyers.
Your will is about the most important document you will ever sign. It is therefore important to ensure that it is properly drafted. With the knowledge of the relevant law and your instructions and wishes on how you want your estate handled, when the time comes.
Wills that are not properly or unclearly drafted can create unexpected difficulties, delay, expense and stress to your loved ones or family.
It’s important that you obtain legal advice in preparing your will to ensure that the resulting document is properly drafted, reflects your wishes and, importantly, can be put into effect under the relevant law.
A defective will may require application to the Court to determine its proper meaning and effect, so that probate may be granted and the will put into effect. An Application of this type can easily cost tens of thousands of dollars.
Your beneficiaries will have enough strain and difficulty once you are gone. Ensuring you have an up to date, correctly drafted will may go a long way to preventing their grief being greater than it should be.
Stuart Loudon, an Associate and commercial lawyer at Irish Bentley, has developed a comprehensive but efficient will checklist. Making it easier to ensure that when he is drafting your will no details are missed. The check list also ensures that your requirements are satisfied, without taking too much of your time up, enabling him to offer you a great fixed price.
Check out our other commercial services at www.Irishbentley.com.au/service/commercial/.