A clause in a homemade will can appear crystal clear to the person writing the will, yet it can be very ambiguous to another person reading it after the will-maker has died.
Many people think making a homemade will saves money, but they are often wrong. In recent times there has been an increase in the number of Court applications made to interpret unclear will clauses. Often the drafting of a homemade will causes confusion and it is necessary to ask the court to interpret the will.
An executor will be personally liable if the estate is not properly distributed in accordance with the will. A gift in a will that has not been properly drafted may have two or more meanings. The differing meanings may in turn lead to different outcomes for two or more potential beneficiaries.
The court will try to interpret a will to give effect to the will-maker’s intentions, but it is not always easy to understand what the will-maker means. There are many rules of interpretation that a court will use to assist it in discerning the will-maker’s intention as expressed in the will. Unless you have studied these rules, it is very easy to make a mistake.
Don’t do your own will. Get it properly prepared by a qualified lawyer. You will save your estate a great deal of money by avoiding costly court applications and you will ensure that what you actually want to happen with your estate occurs.
How We Can Help
Come to us to get your will and estate planning professionally and properly completed.
If you are in the unfortunate position of being the executor of a will that contains ambiguous terms – seek our advice.
Executors are entitled to legal advice to assist them in the execution of their duties, and the legal fees for that advice will almost always be paid for from the estate.
As an executor, don’t leave it to chance that everyone will agree on the way you choose to distribute the estate.
Contact us on 03 9548 5500