Cheap Wills: worth the risk?

In this age of advanced technology, it is easier than ever to get a cheap Will drawn up. Just by typing in a few details, you can quickly get a Will downloaded – all for around $100 or so. Whilst this sounds great, it is dangerous for your estate and for your loved ones – and the ‘Will’ may not even be valid.

Whether it’s an online Will, a cheap DIY Will, or a Will created by an unqualified Will writer, the resulting will may not be worth the paper it’s written on. If on your death, the Will is found to be invalid for some reason – there will be an intestacy. This means your estate will be distributed according to the statutory rules, and not according to your wishes.

A cheap and easy Will can be dangerous because it could leave your loved ones extremely vulnerable to receiving nothing on your death, or it can easily result in an expensive dispute which would undoubtedly drain the money from your estate – leaving little for your chosen beneficiaries.

What are the dangers?

There are many dangers associated with cheap or DIY Wills, including:

  • Risks of dispute over assets: for example, you might leave a property to someone in your Will when a third party owns part of it. This would make the gift of property difficult if not impossible.
  • Dependency claims: if you decide not to benefit your children, your spouse, or someone else who financially depends on you, a dependency claim for provision could be made against your estate.
  • Potential ambiguities: if the Will is ambiguous as to an asset, or as to who should inherit something, the gift could be void.
  • No gift over on beneficiary’s death: if the Will does not cover the scenario that your chosen beneficiaries die before you, there could be a partial or total intestacy if that was to happen.
  • executed properly: a Will must be properly executed to be legally valid. There is a greater risk that the necessary legal formalities are not complied with if no lawyer is involved.
  • Disclaimers: it is common for online Will forms to include disclaimers that the company is not responsible for what you do with it. On the other hand, a qualified Wills lawyer will be insured – so if any problem arises from your Will after your death, insurance will cover any resulting financial losses.
  • Ignores personal circumstances: without a face to face meeting with an experienced Wills lawyer, it is unlikely your specific circumstances and needs will be protected. For instance, are you planning to marry or divorce? Do you own assets in another country? Do you have problems with your mental ability because of illness? If important factors such as these are missed, your Will could be invalid.
  • Tax: a cheap Will is unlikely to enable you or your estate to make tax savings through your Will. On the other hand, a Wills lawyer will give you clear advice on how your Will can be structured to save tax both during your lifetime – and on your death.

Cheap Wills also leave you with the much greater risk that your family will be left to deal with any errors and problems resulting from the Will when they are likely to be grieving. This is a situation you will want to avoid.

What does this mean?

Online Wills, DIY Wills, and other cheaply obtained Wills can never be a good substitute for an effective, watertight Will drawn up by suitably qualified Wills solicitors, backed up by solid advice.

To ensure you have peace of mind, see a qualified and experience Wills lawyer who can discuss your circumstances and your assets in depth, and what you want to achieve with your Will. Only then can a fully effective will be drawn up to protect you, your family and your assets.

Risks versus convenience should be a no brainer for anyone making a Will: our advice is – do not take any risks with cheap Wills.

How can we help?

Though not every DIY Will or cheap Will perform badly, you cannot have any certainty that you, your family and your money will be properly protected. The experienced Wills and Trusts solicitors at Rogerson Law Group have years of experience providing specialist advice to clients seeking to make an effective Will and drafting Wills that fulfill clients’ wishes.

If you are considering making a Will, contact us for specialist legal advice. The experienced Wills and Estates lawyers at Rogerson Law Group can expertly guide you through the Will making process and give you the advice you need before you sign your Will.

Rogerson Law Group provides Will drafting services in the entire GTA including Toronto, Scarborough, Mississauga, Vaughan, Brampton, Richmond Hill, Etobicoke, and Barrie and surrounding areas with offices located in downtown Toronto, Barrie, and an associated office Ottawa.

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