After a messy falling out with his daughter, Gerald felt her entitlement under his Will ought to be reduced. Gerald had read something on the Internet that it was easy for a person to draft some of their own legal documents. Rather than seeing his lawyer, Gerald thought he would try his hand at drafting his own Codicil to his Will.

Under the Will, the Estate had been split 50/50 between the children. In the intended Codicil, however, Gerald named his son Tom as sole residuary beneficiary of his Estate. He also left a small legacy to Susan so as not to exclude her entirely.

Recently, Gerald passed away. When Tom started to administer the Estate he was informed by the lawyer assisting him that Gerald’s Codicil is void due to incorrect witnessing. Consequently its contents cannot be relied upon, and the terms of the original Will remain in effect.

This is a blow to Tom, who wants to see Gerald’s wishes carried out. His desire to see the Codicil followed has led to an Estate dispute between the two children, the last thing Gerald would have wanted.

If Gerald had had his Codicil prepared by a lawyer, with proper advice and guidance on the correct legal procedures for signing and witnessing, this situation could have been avoided.

If legal documents do not meet certain requirements for signing and witnessing, then the contents may be rendered invalid, as was the case here.

The unintended consequence of this is that Gerald’s final wishes will not be carried out.

Having correctly drafted Estate documents is fundamental to the security of an Estate. By having your lawyer prepare these documents for you, you are ensuring, insofar as possible, that your wishes are properly recorded and can therefore be carried out.

Please see a member of our team if you would like to discuss estate matters in further detail.