Homemade will fails the test

We recently wrote of the many reasons why you should get a professionally drafted will. Shortly after writing that article, a recent case in the Supreme Court of Queensland came to our attention that illustrates the problems associated with do-it-yourself wills.

An elderly man whose estate was valued in excess of $3 million has failed to have his wishes carried out as a result of his inadequate home made will.

Jack Jones’s (who we understand is not the former lead singer of the early 90s, long haired Australian band Southern Sons) will attempted to establish a trust comprising more than 95% his estate “to be set up by [his] Executors and Administrators and administered by them as they shall see fit”.

A key requirement of a valid trust is to clearly identify the people or entities receiving money or assets under the trust. The vague wording of Mr Jones’s trust (which included a request that the trust money by applied to “the Education of all my Grandchildren”) was sufficiently uncertain as to be held invalid by the Court.

As a result, Mr Jones’s desired trust could not be created, and the distribution of his money (less the considerable amount spent on legal fees in determining the validity of the trust) will be subject to intestacy laws.

This serves as a cautionary notice to anyone considering a do-it-yourself will. While it may not be immediately apparent, the benefits of engaging a solicitor to write your will can be far-reaching. Basic errors, and the legal costs that may arise from them, are easily avoidable if you seek professional advice.

For further information or assistance with your will or enduring power of attorney, please contact Certus Legal Group.