I have been waiting for the last twenty years to leave my husband. I have never been that well suited to him, but once I got pregnant I thought we should give it a try. Now that the kids have left home, it's obvious that our marriage is totally over. We're going to get a divorce. I'm making sure I have all of my ducks in a row, legally speaking, before I leave so that I get everything I'm entitled too. This blog is designed to give other empty nest divorcees a place to chat and share tips and advice.
If you own property, and have a family, it is important that you write a will while you are still alive. Having a will in place is a great way to avoid the trouble that may ensue in your family if you do not make known how you wanted your property shared once you are no more. You are free to write your will by yourself, but due to the complexity of law, it is always prudent to seek the assistance of a lawyer who specialises in that area.
Here are some reasons as to why your will should be written by an experienced lawyer and not by yourself.
Ensuring the will is valid
Sure, you can write a DIY will, but will it be valid in the eyes of the law? Experienced lawyers know what is required to make a will legally binding. They will take you through the process step by step so that you do not skip any step that may render the entire document invalid. In Australia, you are required to sign the will (or acknowledge the signature) in the presence of those attesting to the will (witnesses), for example. Failure to meet this legal requirement will make a will invalid.
If your will is declared invalid when you die, you will have died intestate, and whatever you leave behind will be distributed to your surviving relatives according to the laws of the land (law of intestacy). The downside of this is that the way the state distributes your property might not be in line with your wishes. By helping you write a valid document, a lawyer will ensure you do not die intestate and that your property is shared exactly the way you wanted before you passed on.
Ensuring clarity of details
A major problem with many DIY wills is that they may lack clarity as to exactly how the testator's property should be shared. A simple omission in the wording of the will can make it open to challenge if more than one person stands to benefit from the will. For example, the testator may state in his/her will: "I leave the townhouse at Melbourne to Mary."
If the testator's mother and daughter are both called Mary Clark, then it will be difficult to tell who was meant to receive the property, and the gift may be rescinded because it frustrates the testator's intention. If the testator had intended to leave the townhouse to his/her daughter, they should have wrote in their will: "I leave the townhouse at Melbourne to my daughter Mary Clark." It is such minor but costly errors that a lawyer can help you avoid when you are writing your will.Share