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Should I use a Will Kit?


Many Australians consider a Will Kit when creating a Will. Access to information is becoming increasingly easy from just a simple Google search. There is a range of websites, post offices and newsagencies which also offer Will Kits at affordable prices. A Will Kit is an easy and efficient way to prepare a Will. However, in more complex situations Will Kits may not be suitable and you may need to reach out to a Succession Lawyer to ensure you have the correct documents for your personal situation.


What is a Will Kit?

A Will Kit contains a step-by-step guide on how to prepare a Will yourself. Preparing a Will yourself can cause issues of interpretation if not drafted clearly. Legal practitioners are experienced and skilled in this area and having your Will drafted by a lawyer will reduce the chance of these issues.[1]


Requirements of a Will

There are several steps you need to take for a Will to be classified as valid. For example, in South Australia, the Wills Act 1936 sets out the requirements for a valid Will. The Will must be in writing and properly executed. [2] Requirements vary between different states as seen in the table below.


Risks

While Will Kits can be useful for some circumstances, there are risks involved such as poor drafting and execution which may put the validity of the Will under scrutiny. The following cases demonstrate what can go wrong if you use a Will Kit.


In the Will of Ethel Florence Panigas and John William Panigas

This is an example of a Will being made using a Post Office Will Kit. In this case both husband and wife had Wills drafted by a solicitor on the 21st March 2003. On 28th March 2011 they decided to make a new Wll using a Will Kit from their local post office. The documents intended to become their new Wills and were not properly signed and witnessed in accordance with the law. They were also poorly drafted, giving rise to the validity of the documents. The children of the deceased(s) commenced proceedings in respect to the validity of the Wills made in 2011. The court ruled the Wills made with a Will Kit in 2011 were invalid, enforcing the previous Wills of 2003 instead. [10]


Rogers v Rogers Young

In this example the Will-maker Mrs Rogers used a Will Kit. Mrs Rogers’ intention for her daughter was to inherit her estate when she was 25 years old, however the Will lacked effective drafting which made it difficult for proper interpretation as to how her estate was to be distributed. The court overruled due to this and found the daughter was entitled to her inheritance immediately despite the fact that she was under the age of 25 as per her mother’s wishes. [11]


What our firm can offer

When it comes to Wills and Succession Law documents, there is no one size fits all. If you’re unsure as to the complexity of your situation, please seek assistance from one of our Succession Lawyers. At Wills& Estates, we offer different types of succession law services including an online Will Kit. To discuss if a will kit is suitable for you, please book a consultation. We offer a free and no obligation first appointment


Don’t wait until it’s too late, contact us today!

Phone: 1800 22 33 90

Email: wills@willsnestates.com.au

Or request a free call back on our website


References [1] Ibid. [2] Succession Act 1981 (QLD) s 10. [3] Wills Act 2000 (NT) s 8. [4] Succession Act 2006 (NSW) s 6. [5] Wills Act 1970 (WA) s 8. [6] Wills Act 1968 (ACT) s 9. [7] Wills Act 2008 (TAS) s 8. [8] Rogers v Rogers Young [2016] WAC 208[1] Master Sanderson. [9] Wills Act 1936 (SA) s 8.

[10] In the will of Ethel Florence Panigas (deceased); In the will of John William Panigas (deceased) [2013] QSC 172. [11] [2016] WASC 208 [1].