Are DIY Wills legal?

Short answer - yes!
But it's a question without real meaning. 

Donald Trump talks about "fake news", and when it comes to Will Kits there are some things that might be viewed  as  "fake claims".

Think about a claim that a Will Kit is "solicitor approved".  It's a meaningless claim because:

  • There is no approvals system for Will Kits - full stop!
  • There is no approvals system for Wills themselves - full stop!
  • Neither the government nor the lawyer societies authorise any solicitors to approve the design of Wills or Will Kits.
So saying a will kit is "solicitor approved" merely means you have paid a solicitor to look at it - which is not an official approval system..

What really matters

What matters is that a Will (either solicitor prepared or DIY) needs to be structured in such a way that it will be accepted as valid when the executor presents it to the Probate Office (following the death of the person who made the Will). 

To do that it needs to comply with some rules that are spelled out in legislation in the State where it is lodged for Probate. (Rules like the minimum age of the willmaker, who can witness the signing, etc).

Our Will templates incorporate such requirements.

Even if there is some minor flaw in a Will, the Probate Office rarely rejects it - they are there to accept Wills, not reject them. If they are not convinced about the Will, what they do is ask the executor to provide further information before they grant probate to the Executor.

And even if the unthinkable happened and the Probate Office just could not accept that the Will represented the last Will of the deceased,  your estate doesn't disappear into a black hole. What happens is that one of your next of kin then applies for "Letters of Administration" instead of Probate, and they wind up the estate in the same way. That is no big deal.

So claims about a Will Kit being "legal" or "solicitor approved" should lead you to question those who are making such claims.


NEXT - Challenges to Wills