Earlier this year I wrote about the Supreme Court of South Australia decision in Cox (Deceased) involving a DIY Will Kit. Not surprisingly, case law continues to expand in the area of DIY Will Kits with another decision handed down in the Supreme Court of Queensland.
The case of Rhodes v Rhodes (as Executor of the Will of Cecil Ronald Rhodes) provides another reminder that pro forma Wills are a poor substitute to a professionally drafted Will by a lawyer. To read the case click here.
In summary, the deceased left his estate by writing in the “Residuary Estate” section of the pro forma Will as follows:
ALL MY WORLDLY GOODS TO MY EX WIFE WHO WILL DISTRIBUTE IT TO MY CHILDREN AS SHE SEES FIT.
A dispute arose between family members as to whether the deceased intended to gift his estate to his ex-wife or alternatively to create a testamentary trust in favour of his children.
The Court ultimately emphasised the choice of words was significant noting the mandatory direction that the ex-wife “ distribute to my children”.
Again, this is a case where use of a DIY Will Kit resulted in family members becoming engaged in expensive litigation which could have been avoided if the deceased has obtained estate planning advice from a lawyer. Where a Will is not drafted carefully, the executor may be forced to commence an application for the Court to determine the proper construction or interpretation of a Will.
If you have any questions about making a Will or contesting a Will, contact us on 08 8523 8400 (Gawler) or 08 8211 6500 (Adelaide) to arrange an appointment for an initial no obligation consultation. Alternatively, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org and we will contact you.