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A Recipe For Disaster

By 20 December 2013Business
recipe for disaster


1 Business

3 Properties

4 Executors

4 Beneficiaries

8 Counsel

8 Solicitors

$7.3 Million and

1 Home Made Will

Mix ingredients well, place under extreme tension and pressure for 10 years. When ready release to the Western Australia Supreme Court for final judgment.

The case in question, Gray v Gray is perhaps the best example for why a person should have a lawyer draft their Will. The case was heard before Master Sanderson, who had this to say on the topic of home made wills in the opening paragraph of his judgment,

Home made wills are a curse. Occasionally where the assets of a testator are limited and where the beneficiaries are not in dispute no difficulties may arise in the administration of an estate. Flaws in the will can be glossed over and the interests of all parties can be reconciled. But where, as here, the estate of the deceased is substantial, the will is opaque and there is no agreement among the beneficiaries, the inevitable result is an expensive legal battle which is unlikely to satisfy everyone. All of this could have been avoided if the testator had consulted a lawyer and signed off on a will which reflected his wishes. There is no question but that engaging the services of a properly qualified and experienced lawyer to draft a will is money well spent.”

The failure to consult with a lawyer and have a Will properly drafted has caused 10 years of disagreements and legal bills to Mr Gray’s family. The cost of drafting and lodging a Will for Mr Gray would have been inconsequential compared to the legal bill of just one of the eight parties.

When deciding if you should complete a DIY Will or have a solicitor create one for you, it is prudent to compare the cost of a professionally created Will with the total value of your estate, and the potential cost to your beneficiaries if they have to litigate to fulfill your wishes. Paying a solicitor to draft your Will is very often, as Master Sanderson put it, money well spent.

You can read the full judgment here.