The desire to save money on legal fees is completely understandable, particularly given the wealth of information available on the internet for those who prefer to DIY.
There are times, though, when DIY can cost you a great deal more than you save. In my experience, the use of will kits it a prime example.
Apparently, it also the view of Master Sanderson of the West Australian Supreme Court. In a recent decision where he was asked to decide what a completed will kit intended, he said:
“On numerous occasions when dealing with so-called homemade wills, I have observed they are a curse. Homemade wills which utilise what is sometimes known as a ‘will kit’ are not much better. This case proves the point. The disposition effected by the will is not complicated and no doubt the testator had clearly in mind what she intended to achieve. But the way the will is drafted is difficult, and the parties have been put to the trouble and expense of coming to the court seeking directions as to its proper interpretation. If the will had been drafted by a competent legal practitioner, this problem would not have arisen and the parties would have been spared a great deal of trouble and expense.”
With 20 named parties in the case, the costs incurred by the family to sort out what was intended to be a very simple gift are likely to run into tens of thousands of dollars.
Many solicitors complete simple wills for their clients for less than their rate for one hour of work. It is a cheap insurance policy to ensure that what you really intend for your estate is carried into effect.