Do You Have a Will? Vitalis Legal
A recent news report stated that COVID-19 has seen an increase in people making Wills. This is not just in Australia, but in the United States as well. I guess there is nothing like a pandemic to help people spring into action!
The statistic still remains that nearly half of all Australian adults do not have a Will. So, I do agree that this is actually a great time to tick this item of your “to do” list.
Below are some pointers for you to review – remember, Miners’ Promise members Receive a 10% Discount off all Vitalis Legal services.
Will Kit versus a Will drafted by a lawyer
One of the questions that was raised in the news report was whether a post office Will Kit was better than a professionally drafted Will. Most of you that know us here at Vitalis Legal would already know our answer to this question (!). It is simple- NO, a Will Kit is not better than a professionally drafted Will.
In our view, a Will Kit is a highly risky option. If the Will is not properly drafted, you may be putting yourself in the same position as not having a Will. There are assets/liabilities that may not necessarily form part of your estate, so if you get this wrong, it can cause all sorts of problems for your loved ones.
If you have superannuation, and or own a home, and or have a liability/debt, and or have children, and are over 18 years of age, then you need a Will.
What about the cost?
Depending on your circumstances (i.e. family dynamics, your position financially) and your intended wishes, a basic Will for a single person starts at $300 ex GST and for a couple in a similar position, $500 ex GST.
It is not a document which you update annually, and making smaller changes to your Will does not necessarily mean that you will need to incur the same cost again. For most of us, a change is normally required around 2-5 years, or when a major life event occurs. But, we wish to stress, this is not a “set and forget” document. Life changes, so you should continue to review your Will as well.
Online Will providers
Sure there are online providers that can assist. Did you know that some are actually not legally qualified to assist? Further, if you read the fine print, there is a clear disclaimer that these providers do not check the information you enter. So, there isn’t someone at the other end checking or prompting further questions if the information you provide does not fit their model.
We have seen many online documents incomplete, or simply void because of incorrect drafting. We are all unique and have differing circumstances. It is very clear that what works for one person, simply will not work for another. Unless you know what you are doing, an online provider in our view is not worth the risk.
How does the process work with COVID-19?
The process is still relatively the same. We are limiting face to face contact to only one meeting rather than two. We can take instructions via telephone/email/video call/online meeting, but will need to see you in person for the sign up. Unfortunately, the rules in Western Australia remain the same. That is, a Will must be witnessed in person.
Witnessing remotely is insufficient at this stage, although there is talk of updating the legislation in light of the circumstances. We have had questions about the use of DocuSign. Our view is this type of signing is not suggested for deeds, and definitely not a Will.
We are still available to meet, but are limiting the amount of meetings we take for the safety of our staff and our wonderful clients. We are taking all necessary precautions when witnessing (i.e. sanitisation, keeping a 2 meter distance, but still within line of sight etc.). For those who are at risk or cannot travel, we are providing comprehensive instructions for sign up outside of the office and checking documents following. For those who are sick and do not have the ability to organise witnesses, there are other methods that may be acceptable and we can assist with this procedure.
If you any questions regarding the above or any aspect of Wills and Estates, feel free to contact me or any of our team.
t: (08) 6244 4150
Suite 10, Level 2, 1321 Hay Street, West Perth WA 6005