Over the past year, since the COVID-19 pandemic began, lawyers like myself have noticed an increase in people wanting to get their affairs in order and write a Will. This includes those in their 20’s and 30’s, not just the elderly.
Maurice Blackburn research shows more than half of Australians don’t have a Will, so it’s a positive step that more people are planning for their future. However, what’s of concern is that some people, in the rush to get things organised, will end up making an informal Will.
Informal Wills can range from something as simple as a handwritten note or a list typed into a phone, to a DIY kit or a templated online Will that hasn’t been filled in properly.
People think they are saving money by not getting professional advice, but if you draft a Will yourself, you’re more likely to forget things or get something wrong.
If a lawyer or a court needs to be called in to interpret a Will, it can add extra time and cost to the process of sorting out the estate.
It can also lead to Will disputes that could have been avoided if the Will had been prepared properly in the first place.
A Will is one of the most important legal documents a person will make in their lifetime, so it’s essential to make sure you do it right.
You may also at some point be asked to help administer an estate after the passing of a friend or family member.
If the deceased had an informal Will, or no Will at all, this can be an overwhelming task to take on while processing the loss of your loved one.
Without a formal Will, there are no clear instructions to help you work out what to do with their estate.
If your loved one has passed without a valid Will, an application needs to be made to the court to appoint a person to act as administrator of the estate. This is called a Grant of Letters of Administration.
Many lawyers now offer video and phone consultations, and some also provide online services where Wills can be completed from home. The most important thing to consider is that a lawye is involved in the drafting process. This ensures a professional has written a Will that is tailored to your personal circumstances.
Remember, a Will is not just a tick-the-box exercise, and involves careful planning of your estate.
If you're ready to make a Will, get in touch with our expert team today. Our dedicated Wills & Estates lawyers can provide advice for your unique situation, draft your Will and any other estate planning documents you require. Have the peace of mind that your Will is legally valid and your family is protected, contact us today.
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