People often ask what’s wrong with writing their own Will or using one available at the post office. Their situation, they reckon, is pretty simple and they know who they want to reward with their worldly goods. So what’s the problem? Well it turns out there are many. 

    Not executed correctly

    Sometimes it’s as simple as the Will not having been witnessed correctly. If a will doesn’t meet with the strict legal requirements, the Will is an ‘informal Will’ and it’s validity is called into question. This spells significant hurdles and stress for your executors and beneficiaries. It leaves them with the risk that the Court will not accept the Will for probate and that your assets will be distributed according to rules in legislation, meaning your intended loved ones may miss out.

    Type of assets

    Frequently problems are caused because the Will maker tries to give away assets that they technically can’t gift under their Will, like jointly owned property, assets held by a company, or superannuation. One of the greatest misconceptions held by people making Wills is that they believe their superannuation forms part of their estate. This is not true but you may be able to do a binding death benefit nomination to make sure it does.


    Sometimes a Will maker has described their gift in a way that doesn’t make sense, or is unclear, which requires a trip to the Supreme Court to have the Will interpreted (clue – this is not cheap) and might result in the gift failing for ‘uncertainty’.

    Challenges to a Will 

    Lastly, people often don’t appreciate who can challenge a will and why. Knowing what the risks are before you make your will and what might be done to minimize the risks goes a long way to avoid costly litigation. 

    False economy

    DIY can save money upfront, but as anyone that has done DIY knows, it can often end up costing a lot more down the track. Worse, if you’ve messed up with your DIY Will, you won’t find out until it’s too late. If you want to ensure you’re not leaving your loved ones significant legal fees and a headache to boot, it makes sense to get a professional to draft your Will. It’s a small price to pay for peace of mind.

    Who to hire

    The good news is that making a considered and solid Will with a lawyer will usually cost less than your car insurance for the year. And look at it like this – unless you change your Will down the track,  it’s a guaranteed return on your investment! When choosing a lawyer, look for someone experienced in estate planning, someone you feel comfortable with, and if price certainty is important to you, someone who offers fixed fees.  


    The Westsider is thrilled to announce our newest community partner, McManus & Co Lawyers!

    • Since 1975, McManus’ caring and approachable team of legal advisors have been taking care of the community’s legal needs in the areas of family law, conveyancing, estate planning and administration. Best of all, they are based in Maribyrnong, so they are lawyers we Westies can turn to when life gets bumpy, or we just need someone to sort things out!

    Looking for a great community minded lawyer?

    McManus Lawyers

    McManus & Co Lawyers
    McManus & Co Lawyers
    McManus & Co Lawyers Suite 103, 1 Thomas Holmes St Maribyrnong VIC 3032 T: (03) 9318 4188

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