When it comes to writing your Will, it is important to do so at any life stage, but it is even more crucial to avoid drafting mistakes that can prove costly or distressing for your family and friends.
How to “write” the wrongs of making your Will? Discover the top 10 mistakes to avoid when writing your Will.
- Waiting Until it’s Too Late
It is all too commonplace for people to pass away without having a valid Will prepared or finalised.
Whether due to putting it off, uncertainty about the procedure or simply having a sense of immortality, official figures suggest that around half of all Australians do not have a valid Will.
- Not Making your Will Legally Binding
A Will must be in writing, signed by the Will maker and witnessed in accordance with the laws of your state or territory. A Will may not be legally binding where it is not witnessed correctly or is not signed by (or in some cases on behalf of) the Will maker.
- Not Consulting Legal Representation
Where you are unsure on the drafting of your Will or your Will is complicated due to the assets forming the estate or complex provisions, , consulting Wills and Estates legal specialist can help to ensure that your Will is legally binding. Paying a Will lawyer can help avoid costly mistakes and ensure your wishes are written as you intend!
- Failing to Nominate an Executor
The executor is one or more persons named in the Will to carry out the wishes of the Will writer after their death. Their role is important, so it’s essential to appoint one or more.
An executor of a Will is required to collect and value assets and assess any debts pertaining to the will, before proceeding to pay off any debts and disburse the remaining assets in accordance with the Will.
- Not Providing for Dependants
If you have young children or pets and fail to provide for them adequately, or simply have not gotten around to writing your Will, your dependents could suffer in the untimely event of your death.
- Failing to Provide a Guardian
In the same way that it is important to provide for children and dependants, it’s equally critical to nominate a guardian for your children in a legally binding manner.
Young children are particularly vulnerable, especially if the Will maker is the sole remaining parent or guardian. This is why it’s essential to ensure that their future is in safe hands by including a nomination of guardian or guardians for your children in your Will.
- Not Specifying Funeral Arrangements
Sadly, it’s too late after the event to provide your express wishes regarding your funeral arrangements, if any.
Many Will writers overlook specifying their instructions and wishes for their funeral services, meaning their wishes may not be known by their family and friends.
- Not Providing Clarity in your Phrasing
It is crucial that your Will is written clearly and precisely, leaving no room for misinterpretation. Expressing your intention and wishes in plain language is paramount for all parties concerned.
Writing clear instructions in your Will also removes any uncertainty about what is to occur, who is to receive what, and when it is to occur.
- Not Retaining Copies or Online Access
The original signed copy of a Will is required to apply for probate in the relevant Court in the will maker’s state or territory. This means it is necessary for the original copy to be kept safely and securely where it can be accessed by the executor or another trusted person, such as a solicitor.
It is prudent for the Will maker to keep photocopies and electronic copies of the Will and securely providing it to trusted persons.
- Not Letting It Be Known your Will Exists
The topic of death is often difficult to raise among family members. But nonetheless, it is a natural part of life that should be discussed, no matter what age the Will maker is and whether in good health or suffering from illness.
The executor or executors appointed under the Will should be notified of the Will and their appointment prior to the death of the Will maker. In man cases, the executor will notify family members about the existence of any valid Will upon such death occurring.If a Will cannot be located or is not legally binding, it can cause immense uncertainty about the deceased’s express wishes for their estate.
Telling your executor, family or loved ones about the existence of your Will and where to access it avoids this unnecessary distress, uncertainty and confusion.
The Best Way to Avoid Mistakes
Avoid mistakes in your digital Will by choosing Your Wills. We are your best defence against making mistakes when writing your Will.
As an Australia-wide online Wills platform, we receive expert support from SLF Lawyers in drafting legally valid and binding Wills. Contact us today to write your Will online.