Almost half of all Australian’s don’t have a will. Many of these wills are improperly executed, and can lead to months and even years of distress under dire circumstances.
When most people think about wills, they usually assume that it’s a document created after retirement, and reserved for the elderly. However, when compared with the number of people that purchase property, we see a vast disparity between the number of people who invest in land and the number of people who hold a will. It’s important to consider what will happen to your wealth after you have moved on.
The number of “cheap” or “budget” will kits that can be found in Newsagents is astonishing. However, if these documents are not executed correctly, they have little to no legal effect. For example, many people create one of these cheap wills, but then have a beneficiary to the will witness it; effectively, there is a conflict of interest in this regard, and the will is invalidated or left intestate (as if there was no will at all).
There are ways to validate an invalid will. However, this usually requires an application to the court and can leave the will open to contestation. It also requires the interpretation by the courts to ascertain what documents were intended to form the will, which may differ in actual fact to the intention of the deceased. It may also result in distribution of the assets in a manner that was not intended.
The easiest, and most cost effective solution, is to create a will with the assistance of your solicitor. What better time to future-proof your assets, than when you make your next property purchase. If you are making a property purchase, and don’t have a will, bring it up with your solicitor the next time you speak with them. Alternatively, if you have any questions about making a proper will, speak to one of our staff for more information.