Edward W. Claxton

Your Will: Top 10 excuses for not seeing a lawyer about a will

I can write my own will
Lawyers love home made wills because they are almost always defective. This leads to legal battles over what was meant by the will. It is not hard to guess who benefits from those proceedings
I can buy a will kit and fill in the blanks
There is a substantial likelihood that mistakes will be made in filling in those blanks. This often happens because it is not always obvious what should be written in the blanks or mistakes are made because the instructions are not followed or mistakes are made because the reader misinterprets the meaning of the instructions. This is slightly better than writing your own will — good luck
My spouse will get everything anyway
Your spouse will get the first $200,000 or half of the net family property, which ever is greater. Any amount over that will be divided between the spouse and children in proportions specified by the law.
My estate is too small, so who cares
The costs and administrative hassles involved in applying to court for administration of an estate without a Will far outweigh the cost of a will. The financial impact on a small estate, on a percentage basis, is out of proportion to the cost of a will.
I do not want to think about dieing
No one wants to think about dieing. No reasonable person would leave behind on the table an open wallet, money and valuables. Some unscrupulous person may try to grab your assets. Will the people you hold dear get what they should get?
Wills cost too much
A will is an important document in our complex society, even more so than in the year 1540 when wills first became generally enforceable legal documents under the Statute of Wills. Most lawyers charge a relatively modest fee for a simple will that does not require special trusts or tax planning.
I do not have time to make a will
The only time you can make a will is before you die. Tomorrow might turn out to be too late.
My spouse will look after everything
If there is a common accident what will happen to surviving children? Without a will The Public Guardian and Trustee will take control of the Assets until the children turn 18 unless some person comes forward and the court approves the appointment of that person to look after the children's assets and other pecuniary interests. Without a will guardians must also apply and be approved by the court to look after the children. The applicants may also have to post a bond to ensure proper performance of their duties. These are costly processes.
I am the last surviving member of my family, why should I care?
If there are no heirs at law your property will Escheat to the Crown, that is to say it becomes government property. Perhaps directing charitable donations would be the better path.
It is too complicated
Your lawyer should be able to explain what you need to know in language that you can understand. If he or she cannot do that, get another lawyer.