Everyone wants a bargain these days, and one way people sometimes try to save money is by doing their own will, or using a will kit off the internet.
We were involved in a case that demonstrates that saving money in this way can end up costing thousands in the end.
A lady decided that she’d do her own will, with a kit she purchased herself. She had four children, one of whom looked after her in her old age.
She did her own will saying that she left her “house contents and car” to her supportive child, and then spent the rest of her will saying the rest of her estranged children deserved nothing.
One of those other children had a lawyer who was smart enough to realise, and argue in court when challenging the will, that she had only dealt with the “house contents” – that is, the furniture, and hadn’t actually left her home – her “house”, to anyone.
That amounts to what’s called a partial intestacy, which meant the house goes to her next of kin – her four children, in equal shares.
Whilst that clearly wasn’t her intention, that’s what the will actually said when read carefully. Eventually we were able to convince the court her intention was clear, if her wording wasn’t, and the Judge inserted a comma between the words “house” and “contents” and the intended child got the house after all.
Don Macpherson from Sunshine Coast Elder Law has over 30 years experience in dealing with Wills and Estate Law, including challenging, or defending wills. The bottom line – don’t do it yourself. Contact us.
This is general advice only. The law is complex, and you should get specific advice about your personal circumstances.