In an era of DIY everything, Australians have caught on to DIY will kits that don’t require the cost, time and hassle of engaging a lawyer. With virtually everything you’d ever need to know about estate planning at your fingertips, more and more people feel confident to build their own Will.
This post uncovers what a DIY will kit is, what they include, and the essential aspects of planning an estate that they don’t cover.
What is a DIY will kit?
A DIY will kit is a simple and cost-effective option to make a Will. They are usually a static paper-based document. Depending on your situation, they can help you write your Will, but they don’t handle complex cases such as shares in a business or a self-managed super fund.
What do they include?
Most DIY kits will typically come with a few things to help guide you through the process to ensure you’re completing it correctly. The biggest problem with DIY will kits is how easy it can be to overlook critical estate planning components.
Here are a few things that they typically include:
- Explanation of all critical legal terms, including an FAQ section
- A sample of a completed Will
- Detailed instructions and an easy-to-read planning guide
- Information on how to appoint an executor
- Issues that may require professional legal advice
- Brief overview guardianship of children
- Free of charge
Things to be cautious about before starting a DIY will kit
Taking the short and easy road to build a Will can result in some sticky situations. There several things to be cautious of when using a DIY will kit that could cause it to become invalid in a court of law.
They provide no legal oversight.
If you incorrectly fill out a Will, you risk the chance of the document becoming invalid in a court of law. With most do it yourself will kits available, there is no legal oversight on inclusions, witnessing, storing, and updating the Will. Without the proper advice, Will writers could improperly sign the document or not leave the executor’s the proper instructions.
It can’t be updated to reflect current circumstances.
Because they are usually paper and static, making changes to the document is not readily available to meet your current situation. For any significant changes to happen, you need to create a new Will every time you need to make changes. When the Will is needed and things are out of date, the Will may not be valid, making it almost impossible for the executor to fulfil the original wishes.
They only cover the most basic estate planning scenarios.
When building a Will, there are lots of details to consider. From beneficiaries to taxation and property, every single aspect of an estate must be dealt with appropriately. With most DIY will kits, they only cover the most basic estate planning and miss some very crucial parts of an estate. These can include:
- What forms part of your estate
- Listing beneficiaries and their details
- Guardianship of children
- The power of the executor
- What revokes a will
And frankly, the list goes on. There is far more risk when creating a Will without the proper legal advice to only try and fast track the process and save money. When in doubt, consider using an online service or engaging a lawyer to ensure that you build your Will correctly, avoiding any mistakes that could cause issues.
For more helpful reading, consider these DIY will kit reviews.
Disclaimer: The content of this blog is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. This blog should not be relied upon as legal, financial, accounting or tax advice.