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  • Val Antoff

Will Kit - a cheap way to get a will and 5 common mistakes

How does a will kit work? A will kit is low cost or even free way to prepare your will. If a person follows the instructions in the guide they are likely to prepare and execute a legally valid will.

Five common mistakes with will kits

  1. Defect in the attestation clause The attestation clause often states 'The testator signed in the presence of both of us being present at the same time, and we attested his/her signature in the presence of him/her' - but it misses to say - ' and in the presence of each other'.

  2. Incomplete conditions for the appointment of executors The will maker appoints an institute and a substitute executor. The only condition for the substitute executor to take on the role is if the institute executor has died. What if they refuse or cannot act because they have lost capacity?

  3. Defect in the appointment of executors because of uncertainty The will maker says: 'I appoint this person or that person as my executor'. The result is that they have no executor because they have used the wrong conjunction - or - appointment fails.

  4. Unsigned wills We see wills which have been signed by the testator and only witnessed by one witness. Sometimes 2 witnesses have signed the will but the will maker hasn't.

  5. Failed gifts Often a testator would leave a specific gift to a beneficiary - a sum of cash in their safe, a car, jewellery, a house, the balance in a bank account. Often these gifts fail because the item does not exist - it has been lost, gifted or sold. A bank account has been closed or the house has been sold. Unfortunately, your beneficiaries in such circumstances will be very disappointed.

When NOT to use a will kit – checklist

If you ticked one or more items on this checklist please do not use a will kit, instead call a lawyer:

  • you are in a blended family

  • you want to leave a child out of your will

  • you are the trustee or appointor of a family trust

  • you do not want to split your assets equally between your children

  • you are planning to marry

  • you are planning to divorce

  • you want to give the right to a person to live in your home on certain conditions

  • you want to minimise the tax payable on your superannuation death benefits

  • you want to protect your assets from the spouses of divorcing children

  • you want to protect your assets from creditors of your beneficiaries

  • one of your beneficiaries is in a high-risk profession or business where negligence claims are likely

  • you are concerned that your spouse may remarry and divert the family assets to the new family to the disadvantage of your children

  • a beneficiary is a spendthrift or has a gambling or drug addiction or is disabled

  • you want to provide a gift to cover the private schooling of your grandchildren

  • you want to make a specific gift in your will – those often fail

  • an eligible person is likely to make a claim against your estate.

A will kit is a cheap way of preparing a will. However, you need to ask yourself the question - is it worth taking the risk when you can have a will prepared by a lawyer for a reasonable cost. Give us a call on 04211 45637 to find out how we can help you.