I have noticed many ‘deal of the day’ websites are offering heavily discounted Will Kits. You will also often find Will Kits in most newsagencies and post offices. All suggest that they can assist you to prepare your Will easily and cheaply.
Will kits generally include very basic instructions, and do not ask the essential questions that are required to properly assess your situation. Even if they do provide answers to ‘Frequently Asked Questions’, the answers are general and cannot provide you with the proper information to enable you to make the best decision that will suit your circumstances.
Some of the additional questions that are required to assess your situation include:
• What are all of your assets – including real property, shares, loans owed to you by other people?
• Are your assets owned with other people? If so, how are they owned – joint tenants or tenants in common? The manner in which a property is owned will affect whether or not you can gift
the property. It may be necessary in some circumstances to sever a joint tenancy.
• Do you have children from a previous relationship? Have you adequately provided for them in your Will? If not, are there adequate documents in place to explain why?
• Do you own your own business? If so, how is that business owned? What provisions are in place to deal with the business? Can it be sold on your death or will any goodwill die with you?
• Do you have a family trust and/or a self-managed superannuation fund and what is the most tax effective method of dealing with your superannuation death benefit?
• What are the CGT implications of how you choose to leave your various assets?
• Is there anyone who might challenge your Will and, if so, how can you manage that risk?
Don’t assume that your situation is ‘simple’ or that you don’t need anything more than a ‘Will Kit’ Will. In many circumstances it will not cover your needs. Often, after assessing your property and financial needs, it is necessary for us to discuss these matters with your accountant and/or financial advisor to ensure that all issues are adequately dealt with. The right advisor drafting your Will, will do this. Your Will Kit will not.
Doing a ‘Will Kit’ Will might save you a small amount of money now, but if your Will is not done correctly it could cost your estate a very large amount of money on your death.
Make sure your estate planning needs are properly assessed – Contact our Estate Planning Team for further information.