Why DIY Will Kits Are Not Always A Good Idea
Most people understand how important it is to make a will, especially if they have a number of assets and personal possessions to dispose of. Yet they may be tempted to take a shortcut when creating such a document, as they feel that it will be simply too expensive or time-consuming to take a more conventional path. There are certainly a number of "DIY" will kits available in the marketplace, but people often make mistakes when going down this route. What are some of the pitfalls you may encounter if you decide to create a will on your own?
Many of these will kits come with a complex set of instructions, but people may often overlook the small print, and this can come back to haunt them.
For example, they may forget to appoint an executor, who is somebody meant to dispose of the estate following their death. This will not invalidate the will, per se, but it can certainly cloud the situation and lead to a dispute in the future. One member of the family may consider that he or she is more suited to execute the will, but another member may not agree.
Even though this may be a more informal way of creating a will, it must still conform with legal requirements. Some people will rush to finish the document and not take time to write carefully. The handwriting may be illegible, and if nobody can read the requirements of the will, then uncertainties can arise, and disputes can flourish.
Sometimes, the will maker will forget that you need two witnesses and not one. This can often invalidate the document or create a costly dispute with other members of the family. Or, the witness may use a different colour pen to sign the document and this can raise a question as to whether or not it was actually witnessed. Issues like this could be avoided if the person in question were to seek professional guidance at the outset.
Legal guidance could also be beneficial in crafting the document correctly. The person making the will may have a specific requirement and want one of their assets to be given to a particular beneficiary, based on a certain set of actions. However, they may overlook a clause elsewhere or the small print attached to a separate document, which may make it difficult or impossible for the wishes to be met according to their precise instructions. Had they sought legal advice, then this problem would likely have been identified and additional language entered in order to facilitate their request.
These issues and many other problems can lead to disputes and estate litigation. It's best to seek counsel from an experienced lawyer to avoid any ill will in the future.