Why would you pay a lawyer for something you can do yourself? In a time where people try to diagnose a medical condition using Google, become a makeup artist watching Youtube or a builder through watching The Block, can you write your own will without a lawyer?
Before answering this question, let’s see how the DIY option measures up to the professionals.
The ‘Do it Yourself’ (DIY) Will
A DIY will is inexpensive. This is a great benefit, but you ought to consider the following:
- You need to know how to administer your estate when you die to avoid traps;
- There’s no back-up options when appointing a substitute executor. There’s a couple of questions you might want to ask yourself: What would happen in the tragic event that you and your children die at the same time? Or what would happen if one of your children predeceases you?
Using a Professional
Using a lawyer ensures that your property is distributed directly according to your wishes. A lawyer not only specialises in drafting your will in the correct terms, but they also ask the right questions, and will guarantee the document is legally valid. This includes making it easier for your executor after you die.
Here are six reasons you need a lawyer to draft your will:
1) To save money in the long run
The DIY option is cheaper in the first instance, but with it, estate administration can be more expensive. Your lawyer can draft the document using clear terms, which make administration more efficient. If your DIY will is not drafted following certain procedures, there is a risk it will not be accepted to Probate.
2) The process is complicated
Don’t underestimate how complicated drafting your own will can be. Each term must be clear and concise, and all of the terms must operate together. You may also have complicated circumstances which would add to your stresses. For example, you may be divorced, separated, or be part of a blended family. All of your personal relationships would need to be considered and listed during the drafting.
3) You may need more than just a will
Estate planning encompasses more than a will. A will usually goes hand-in-hand with an Advanced Care Directive and an Enduring Power of Attorney. You might even need further legal documents such as a loan agreement to help distinguish a loan from, or to, family members, compared with gifting money.
4) You don’t get a second chance
The nature of estate planning is that there is no chance to go back and correct mistakes once you die. You run the risk of leaving your loved ones with a big, costly mess if it is not done correctly.
5) Our nature is to change
Change is our nature. A lawyer can guide you on when the change is significant and when your will needs to be updated, signed, and witnessed in the same way as when you originally made it. Your lawyer can also draft the document to allow for significant changes without requiring an update on your documents. For example, the birth of children or grandchildren, the death of someone named in the document, or if a named executor is unable, or unwilling to act.
6) A lawyer is objective
A lawyer will help with objectivity and reasonableness in the drafting of your will. They will discuss all of your options and be able to advise appropriately on the law, as and when it impacts your will.
To sum up, can you write your own will without a lawyer? Certainly. But be sure to think carefully before you do. Get advice. Peter Fisher Lawyers are one of the best and highly trusted will and estate lawyers in Adelaide.