Considering a Legal Will Kit?

Posted by - - Will & Estates.

There is a general understanding on the part of most people that they need to have a will. Many consider that a ‘will kit’ is adequate for the job. Sometimes it is, but, compared to a properly drawn will, it may lead to the loss of the substantial monetary and familial benefits.

Asset Protection

If you gift part of your estate to a person who becomes bankrupt (even after you die), then that person’s trustee in bankruptcy is likely to take the gift up to the level required to discharge the bankruptcy. Similarly, a gift to a person who separates from his or her spouse may have to be shared with that spouse. A well-drawn will maximises the chances of avoiding these and other unintended consequences.

Tax Savings

A well-drawn will can produce substantial taxation savings for your estate and beneficiaries. The savings from even a relatively modest estate can be reduced by many thousands of dollars each year.

Family Disputes

Family members who believe they have not been adequately catered for in a will are able to challenge the will in the Supreme Court. This can tie up the estate and lead to family disputes that never heal—not quite the legacy most of us wish to bequeath to our families.

Legal Fees

A poorly drawn or incorrectly executed will may result in the will being rejected for probate, causing substantial additional expense to be incurred by your estate and beneficiaries. Also, the legal costs of all of the parties involved in a challenge to a will, discussed above, are usually paid out of the estate, substantially reducing the amount of money available for beneficiaries by tens or even hundreds of thousands of dollars. So paradoxically, legal fees can be much, much lower, if you use a lawyer in the first place.

Make Your Will Do What You Want It to Do

Drafting a will is generally not a straightforward task. There are many contingencies to be considered and technicalities to comply with. These can pose problems for lawyers in general practice, let alone the layperson. If you have a family trust, a superannuation fund, relatives or children to whom you have loaned money, if you have remarried, or if you have been beset by any number of other incidents of day-to-day living, you ought to have professionally drawn will. The cost of doing so is an investment in your family’s future.

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