You can do just about anything online, including preparing your own Will. For a small fee (that many Australians believe will save them money), pro forma kits can be used. It is estimated that 11% of Australians have prepared their own Wills using these online kits. On the surface, it seems to make sense; a program will walk you through the steps and you can avoid paying big legal fees, or can you?
If you’re thinking of a do it yourself Will, it’s important to watch out for hidden costs. To start with, your Will is one of the most, if not the most important document you will ever prepare or have prepared. It determines what happens to your assets and your estate when you pass. Even a simple typo or mistake can lead to results that you never wanted to happen.
Online kits are simply not cut out for extremely complex financial and estate situations. For example, the kits aren’t for those who have blended families or that have a self-managed super. If something in your Will is misinterpreted, it can lead to costly and lengthy litigation by family members and creditors after you pass. Not only is the litigation expensive (often in the tens of thousands of dollars), but it can delay the assets in the estate from being distributed. When someone passes, they want things to go smoothly and their family members and other heirs to be able to receive their portion of the estate without any hassle.
While pre-filled forms and online Will kits seem simple and money saving in the beginning, they often don’t turn out that way. When it comes to estate planning and the drafting of a Will, it’s extremely important to seek out the advice of properly trained and certified legal counsel to ensure your estate is handled properly.