Increasing numbers of people are asking Queensland law firms to help solve disputes resulting from ambiguous wills. More people are coming into solicitors’ offices with will kits, asking for help to complete them. While solicitors do not object to the business, they would rather see people getting a high-quality and cost-effective service from the outset. A common mistake made by people writing their own wills is the use of language they believe is self-explanatory and ‘legal’. For example, ‘all my furniture and effects’ may not-apply to the piano, the fur coat, or art works. Phrases like ‘the contents of my house’ cause disputes over whether the intention was to include the car under the house, or the share certificates in the desk drawer. The description ‘all my lands’ causes problems if some of the land is leased, or is part of a family partnership. A direction such as ‘my sons and daughters in equal shares’ is another typical error in a homemade will. In the case of three sons and two daughters, does it mean that they should receive one-fifth each, or one-half to the three sons and the other half to the two daughters?
One problem executors of homemade wills face is clauses stipulating inheritance in specific circumstances, such as if the beneficiary performs a particular deed. Such conditions place a burden on the beneficiary to prove their right to greater benefit from the deceased’s estate, and trauma for the executor in judging whether the beneficiary has met those conditions. Instead of saving money and leaving a welcome inheritance for their loved ones, a person writing their own will can cause their beneficiaries greater expense and trauma than if they’d had their will legally drawn up by a solicitor. All Queenslanders from 18 years, or younger if married, should have a will.
You should not remove your own teeth, or do surgery on your sore knee. So please leave professional work to the professionals. Porta Lawyers has developed a simple and cost effective process for you to make a will. Please call us to commence the process.