Over the past year, since the COVID-19 pandemic began, there has been an increase in people wanting to get their affairs in order and write a will – and this includes those in their 20s and 30s, not just the elderly.
Maurice Blackburn research shows more than half of Australians don’t have a will, so it’s a positive step that more people are planning for their future.
However, what’s of concern is that some people in the rush to get things organised will end up making an informal will.
Informal wills can range from something as simple as a handwritten note and or a list typed into a phone, to a DIY will kit that hasn’t been filled in properly.
“People think they are saving money by not getting professional advice, but if you draft a will yourself, you’re more likely to forget things or get something wrong,” explained Arabella Kullack, senior associate and State Wills and Estates leader at Maurice Blackburn.
“If a lawyer or a court needs to be called in to interpret a will, it can add extra time and cost to the process of sorting out the estate.”
It can also lead to disputes that could have been avoided if the will had been prepared properly in the first place.
A will is one of the most important legal documents a person will make in their lifetime, so for this reason, it’s important to make sure you do it right.
Easy and online
Writing a will has never been easier. Many lawyers now offer video and phone consultations, and some also provide online services where wills can be completed from home.
The key to choosing an online provider is to look for those where lawyers are involved in the drafting process. This ensures a professional has written a will that is tailored to your personal circumstances.
Remember, a will is not just a tick-the-box exercise, and involves careful planning of your estate.
It takes just half an hour to submit your instructions via Maurice Blackburn’s online will service, MyLife Wills®.
Then a Wills & Estates team member will call you to clarify everything before a lawyer writes your will properly.
Need help to administer an estate?
You may also at some point be asked to help administer an estate after the passing of a friend or family member.
If the deceased had an informal will, or no will at all, this can be an overwhelming task to take on while processing the loss of your loved one.
Without a formal will, there are no clear instructions to help you work out what to do with their estate.
If your loved one has passed without a will, an application needs to be made to the court to appoint a person to act as administrator of the estate. This is called a Grant of Letters of Administration.
If your loved one died with a will, and you are the executor, you need to apply to the court for a Grant of Probate to confirm the will is valid and you have the authority as the executor to deal with the assets of the estate.
For expert assistance to apply for probate or letters of administration, including applying online, contact Maurice Blackburn.