THE DANGERS OF "DIY" WILL KITS - PART 2
In Part 1 of this article series, we explored the dangers, risks and pitfalls associated with using "DIY" Will Kits.
Speaking with a Succession Lawyer enables you to receive advice comprehensive advice about your unique circumstances, and this is one of the areas of law that we provide the most assistance with.
Your Succession Lawyer can also advise you about:
the formalities of the requirements for a valid Will;
Ensuring you have Testamentary Capacity to make a valid and binding Will, including obtaining appropriate medical evidence, if necessary;
Ensuring you have independent legal advice about your Will, and ensuring your Will is not being made under duress, pressure or fraud from others;
Ensuring all appropriate property is identified and disposed of under the Will;
considerations for nominating appropriate Executors and Trustees and ensuring those persons are willing and able to accept the appointment;
considerations about gifts to beneficiaries;
steps you can take to minimize the risk of Family Provision disputes;
Ensuring you have consistency between your Will and any Nominated Beneficiaries under Superannuation Policies and Life Insurance Policies;
Ensuring you have consistency with Binding Financial Agreements (a.k.a Pre-Nuptial Agreements);
Whether certain property should be transferred prior to your death and whether an accountant or taxation specialist should be consulted;
Your rights and obligations for jointly-held property, trust assets and company assets;
Creating maximum benefit for Beneficiaries with respect to tax issues and asset protection;
Ensuring that the Will captures your current family situation, including new spouses and step-children;
Considering mutual Wills for spouses;
The effect of debts on the Estate;
The best and safest way to store your Will, including Safe Custody options; and
Consideration of ancillary issues, such as Guardianship of children if both parents were to pass away, your specific funeral wishes, and wishes for burial, cremation and organ donation.
Such legal advice is invaluable and will limit the prospect of your Will being challenged, overturned, incomplete or invalid.
Your Will is one of the most important legal documents you will ever create in your lifetime. It should be considered a “living document” that is checked and updated every few years.
Significant life changes – such as marriage, divorce/separation, acquisition and disposal of large assets and the birth of children and grandchildren – can happen at any time. Failing to consider these changes and update your Will accordingly and can lead to unintended consequences for your Will and your Beneficiaries.
Do your family and yourself a favour by seeking professional legal advice when considering and drafting your Will.
You can’t put a price on that peace of mind.