We continue to see Wills which have been drafted with the aid of ‘DIY Will Kits’. These ‘Kits’ provide you with information on how to draft your Will, and assist in guiding you through the execution of the document. It’s cost effective and simple, right? In the short term, yes! But in the long term, it could cost you and your family a lot of money.
There are a number of pitfalls in using these Kits, and it is vital that the Will which you possess is both practical and enforceable. For example, did you know that a change in your relationship status after you made your Will, such as separation or marriage, can have the effect of invalidating all or part of your Will? Or that something as simple as a paperclip mark or staple can cause problems in obtaining Probate of a Will?
The witnessing attestation is also critical to a Will’s enforceability, and could lead to problems and expense further down the track. The ‘Will Kits’ which we have seen do not emphasise this enough, and we imagine this is because they may be published in jurisdictions with different requirements to New Zealand.
These ‘Kits’ are useful tools for providing you with information on drafting a Will. However, they can be problematic if they are exclusively relied upon. They should not be used in substitution for the advice of trained and experienced professionals.
You may think that you are saving a few dollars at the time you are making a Will from a ‘Will Kit’, but if you get the document wrong, or its execution wrong, you may not achieve your desired result. You may create a document that is invalid, or which needs to be validated using very expensive High Court procedures.
At Hammonds Law, we draft Wills precisely in accordance with your wishes, ensuring that the final product is a legally valid and enforceable testamentary document. We also store Wills in our safe, so they cannot be lost, misplaced or tampered with. You can have a copy at any time. Hammonds Law and its predecessors have been providing these services for well over a hundred years, so talk to us and we will provide the right advice.