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But Wait There’s More…..Here is a Free Will Kit

It seems that the methods of selling products have not changed much in the past 20 years. Those of us who are old enough to remember will recall the advertisements offering to sell various products with the inevitable “but wait there’s more”. It was very popular to throw in a set of steak knives as an inducement to buy the usually “cheap” product on your TV.

Although the advertising methods have become more sophisticated, the advertisers have not restricted their inducements to steak knives. Indeed, recent advertisements selling funeral plans have “thrown in” free Will kits as an inducement for people to take out a policy for funeral expenses.

We have no argument with people taking out cover for their funeral, but we do have an issue with offering “free Will kits” as part of the sales process for a funeral plan. A Will is a very important and serious document that requires careful consideration and must be drafted and signed in a certain way in order for it to be “legal”.

Although there have been recent decisions of the Courts verifying Wills that have been done on iPhones, videos and other unusual modes, the fact remains that in Australia, there are minimum legal requirements for a Will to be accepted as “legal”. Briefly, those requirements are as follows:-

  • It should revoke all previous Wills;
  • It should appoint a personal representative or executor;
  • It should accurately set out the assets of the deceased and to whom the estate is to be left;
  • If applicable, it should make alternative provisions in case intended beneficiaries predecease the Will maker;
  • The Will needs to be in legible writing or typeface. It should be properly signed by the Will maker and witnessed by two adult witnesses who are not beneficiaries in the Will;
  • There are also technical requirements in relation to how and when the Will is signed in the presence of the witnesses.

Although these may seem like fairly standard requirements that most people should be able to comply with, unfortunately there is a very high percentage of “DIY Wills” that are rendered invalid due to them not complying with these basic requirements.

You could find that the “DIY Will” is completely invalid and the Court will approve a previous Will done by the deceased. Alternatively, they may die “intestate” which could even result in the estate passing to the Government.

There are also cases where ” DIY Wills” are so difficult to understand that the assistance of a Court is required to make sure that the proper interpretation of the Will is followed.

The lesson from this is to make sure that you consult a lawyer experienced in this area to have your Will properly drafted. This will potentially save your family tens of thousands of dollars and ensure that your estate is properly left to your intended beneficiaries.

For enquiries please contact Donna Tolley on direct line 07 5506 8241, email dtolley@attwoodmarshall.com.au or freecall 1800 621 071.

 

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Angela Harry

Angela Harry

  • Partner
  • Wills and Estates
  • Direct line: 07 5506 8211
  • Mobile: 0423 773 686