Why you shouldn't DIY when it comes to estate planning

Date: Aug 06, 2013

You may have heard talk of the do-it-yourself (DIY) will. Forbes even published an article on the subject last year, questioning whether they were a worthwhile, cost-effective option when it came to estate planning.

However, the general consensus is that DIY wills are not all they're cracked up to be.

While it may initially seem cheaper to put your own will together rather than seek the advice of a qualified estate lawyer, there is a high probability that you will actually end up costing your loved ones more by doing so.

President of the Law Society of New South Wales John Dobson says that many people underestimate just how complicated their affairs actually are. You may think it is relatively easy to split up your estate among your relatives and close friends, but doing so can be a complex process.

He explains that DIY wills can result in unnecessary delays, a lot of uncertainty and could leave your family and estate with "substantial legal costs".

This type of will has become such a problem that it is actually going to be the focus of the Law Society's 2013 Will Awareness Events. On August 16, a panel discussion titled "How Much Does a Home-Made Will Really Cost?" will be hosted by the Southern Tablelands Regional Law Society.

DIY will "kits" are available online and offer you a template that you simply fill in and print out.

However, doing so without the supervision of an estate lawyer, who is trained to spot areas of potential contention in your document, means estate disputes are more than likely to occur after you have passed away.

If, for instance, your wording in one section of the will is a little ambiguous, this is enough fodder for someone to dispute a will and potentially get a greater share of your estate than you had intended.

Should you enlist the services of an estate lawyer when creating your will, you can benefit from their expert eye when it comes to the way the document is worded.

Forbes also mentions other small mistakes that someone creating a DIY will could make, such as signing the document without the right kind or amount of witnesses present. Again, this could be grounds for someone to challenge a will and frustrate your wishes.

If you want to make sure your will is as clear and error-free as possible, contact a law firm such as Craddock Murray Neumann today.