3 Comments Wills, probate, letters of administration, powers of attorney
Do-it-yourself legal kits are as binding as those produced by solicitors. In our case the kits ARE produced by solicitors. The risk is that people do not follow the instructions properly with respect to execution resulting in a partially valid will. Some examples are that they have only one witness, or that the witness is a beneficiary or related to a beneficiary.
The Will Kit is designed for simple situations which covers 95% of us. If there are complex family company arrangements or testamentary trusts involved, see a solicitor who can construct a will that will not conflict with these arrangements. Expect to pay legal fees upward of $500 for each person if there are complex arrangements.
Dear Aussie Legal,
I have almost the exact question as Steve, the Emailer. That is, I have used and followed the instructions of your DIY Will Kit. My estate planning situation is quite simple - fitting into the 95% that you mention. However, I can't help having a lingering doubt whether it (the will) will hold up (be valid) at the time when it counts - i.e. when it is to be executed upon my passing.
I would not mind paying for a second (professional) opinion, provided the cost is reasonable. Why doesn't Aussie Legal provide such a service. If you want to stick to your policy of no advice provision, you can put a disclaimer on your second opinion, and each client can decide whether to accept such "qualified" opinion. Alternatively, the solicitors should consider providing such a service.
Warmest regards, Alias.