Validity of a will – why an informal will doesn’t work

Some people think that the process of having a lawyer draft their will is an expensive and unnecessary exercise and instead write an informal will, not knowing the potential implications for their beneficiaries.

At the Law Office of Conrad Curry we have acted for numerous executors and administrators in respect of the mess left after the death of the will maker who has made an informal will without legal advice.

Quite apart from the fact that there are strict legal requirements associated with the prima facie validity of a will, such as the formal requirements around the execution of the document, there are potential complexities which require careful and considered legal advice:

  • The capacity of the will maker
  • The potential for duress or undue influence by family members or ‘friends’
  • The necessity to deal with and dispose of all of the estate
  • The treatment of superannuation
  • The consideration of any claim which might be made by a disgruntled family member after the death of the will maker
  • Tax implications
  • Vulnerable beneficiaries

The process of dealing with the mess created by a poorly drafted informal will can be incredibly expensive and stressful for an estate and those left behind. An otherwise simple estate could be the subject of several months or years of court litigation and cost an estate and the beneficiaries/family the greater proportion of the assets.

Some of the cases we have dealt with at the Law Office of Conrad Curry include:

  • Letters of Administration in circumstances where
    • no executor was appointed
    • there was only one witness or no witness at all to the will
    • the will was undated
  • Disputes where
    • the property the subject of the gift under the will did not exist or was incorrectly identified or described
    • judicial interpretation was necessary of poorly drafted charitable gift
    • where the entire estate was not disposed of

At the Law Office of Conrad Curry, we encourage you to take you succession planning very seriously and obtain legal advice.

Following are details of fees to prepare a will:

Wills, Power of Attorney & Enduring Guardian (simple):  $330.00 including GST each

Wills, Power of Attorney & Enduring Guardian (single person):  $850.00 including GST

Wills, Power of Attorney & Enduring Guardian (couple):  $1,700.00 including GST


Wills and Estates

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