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Court condemns homemade Wills as a ‘curse’

The recent decision of Rogers v Rogers Young [2016] WASC 208 has again highlighted the inherent dangers of not engaging an experienced lawyer to prepare your Will.

In this case, Mrs Rogers died leaving a homemade Will (made using a Will kit) which had unclear and even contradictory provisions as to how her estate was to be distributed.

It was apparent that Mrs Rogers intended her daughter to receive her inheritance when she turned 25; however there was an inconsistency in the document.

Unfortunately, because of the wording of the Will, the Court found that the daughter was entitled to her share immediately (notwithstanding that she was not 25 years of age).

As Master Sanderson noted:

On numerous occasions when dealing with so-called homemade wills, I have observed they are a curse.… The disposition effected by the will is not complicated and no doubt the testator had clearly in mind what she intended to achieve.  But the way the will is drafted is difficult, and the parties have been put to the trouble and expense of coming to the court seeking directions as to its proper interpretation.  If the will had been drafted by a competent legal practitioner, this problem would not have arisen and the parties would have been spared a great deal of trouble and expense.’

For further information and assistance on any estate planning or estate administration matter, please contact a member of our experienced Wills, Trusts and Estate Planning team at Bell Legal Group on (07) 5597 3366 or email Tracey Carroll.