Planning for your own future and your family’s future after you’re gone is a really important legal task.
If you take the time now to seek legal advice you can then make decisions for yourself regarding your ongoing needs, and save your family not only stress but money in what will undoubtedly be a difficult time for them once you pass.
Wills-Power of Attorneys-Advanced Health Directives
To ensure that your estate is given to the people that you choose when you pass it is important to prepare a legal Will . If you do not make a legal Will, your estate will be distributed using a fixed formula determined by the government.
- Consideration to your individual circumstances
- Blended families
- Advice regarding the possibility of claims against your estate
- The protection of assets
- The assessment of likely taxation
- Establishing Will, Power of Attorney and Advanced Health Directives
Fixed Fees Available
- Single person:
- Simple Will, Power of Attorney or Advanced Health Directive $210 per document (including review of any existing document)
- Wanting 2 documents or a couple?
- Simple Wills, Power of Attorneys or Advanced Health Directive $390 for the document set-e.g. 2 x wills, or 2 x power of attorneys or 2 x advanced health directives (including review of any existing documents)- when both attending appointment at same time
PLEASE NOTE: The above indication of costs are correct as at October 2018 and are subject to change at any time.
Home or Nursing Home appointments are available in Hervey Bay area.
We can accomodate (in most instances) same day preparation and signing of documents.
Should you do it yourself using a legal kit or should you ask a lawyer to draft it?
There are two main risks with DIY Wills.
First, there’s a high chance you will sign it incorrectly. Each State in Australia has specific legislation about the signing and witnessing of Wills. The kit will come with extensive instructions on how to sign your Will correctly. However, it is amazing how many times such instructions are not understood or followed.
We know this because during our Wills conferences, we explain in detail how to sign a Will and Power of Attorney and then provide detailed follow-up written advice repeating these steps and we encourage our clients to call us if they have any questions during the signing of their Wills. Yet when our clients send us back their signed documents for checking, we still see some with signing errors that need to be re-signed. And our clients are clever cookies! It is just that Will and Power of Attorney signing isn’t straightforward.
Clients also often forward us copies of their previous Wills. So often where this is a DIY Will, it has been signed, witnessed or dated incorrectly.
Second, whilst for some people, the limited options provided by a DIY kit will be OK for their purposes, for many it will not. No matter how well it is put together, no kit can cater for the infinite variety of circumstances that affects what sort of Will a person needs. If the DIY Will doesn’t meet your needs, the outcome could be disastrous for your family, especially if you have a blended family, young children, troubled beneficiaries or complicated financial and family arrangements.
There is also the risk that your words will create ambiguity or be misconstrued or won’t be able to be put into effect. Poor drafting may cause a result quite different from what you intended.
Finally, a lawyer can correct any misunderstandings (such as what assets can or can’t be dealt with via a Will) or discuss different options with you, such as who to appoint as executor or the most tax effective method of distribution. Or they can draft your Will to contemplate future life changes, such as marriage or additional children, so you don’t need to update your Will when this happens.
We all have wishes about how our assets should be distributed after our death.
A well-drafted Will gives you peace of mind that you have done all you can to enable your wishes to be fulfilled and your loved ones provided for.
DIY Wills can be very expensive
A recent Queensland Court of Appeal case, Masci v Masci  QCA highlighted a family legal dispute arose over a DIY Will and the intentions of the deceased will-maker. This case highlights the risks of Estate Planning without seeking professional legal advice and relying on DIY Will kits that do little to explain the legal process to the Will maker.
The Court proceeding lasted three-and-a-half years and the costs associated with the proceedings were far more greater than the cost of a lawyer providing legal assistance at the time the Will was being drafted. The case serves as a warning regarding DIY wills. This case in particular highlighted problems that could have been avoided by the help of an estate planning lawyer at the time of making the Wills providing advice to:
- Sever Joint tenancy; and
- Draft the Wills thereafter.
If you do not seek legal advice during a Will drafting process, this can often result in a multi-partied dispute and lengthy and costly court proceedings to discern the intentions of original will-makers, as well as the rights and interests of the succeeding parties to the Estate.
At the same time as considering your Will we strongly recommend that you also put in place plans for any future incapacity through Power of Attorney-financial and health directives, and advanced health directive- documents. This will ensure that if you somehow become unable to make decisions about your finances, your medical treatment or living arrangements then the person or persons who you trust to make these decisions can do so unhindered.
Contact us to find out more or to arrange a consultation with Claire.
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