Equity Trustees warns SMSFs against apps for wills

A superannuation consultant has cautioned SMSF trustees to avoid mobile phone apps for wills and homemade wills, since they could easily result in an estate planning disaster.

Equity Trustees national manager of estate planning Anna Hacker said the disclaimers on these estate planning apps state the app is only for simple advice, but many SMSF trustees will mistakenly think their circumstances are simplistic when they are, in fact, complicated.

“While the apps stress that the structure is legal and binding, the most important aspect of making a will is not the document itself, but the advice that goes with it because that’s what takes into account you as a person, the nuances in your personal relationships and your circumstances,” said Ms Hacker.

“With digital wills and apps, the advice step is missed – an app can’t detect subtleties or be proactive in how you deal with difficulties that might need to be dealt with in a will.”

The developers of these apps make it clear they take no responsibility for any changes in the laws or whether the will app is appropriate to your own circumstances, she added.

Ms Hacker also warned SMSF trustees about will kits and wills offered online.

“People should always be wary of any service that implies drafting a will is such a simple process that it can be done in a few minutes on the internet,” she said.

“I have had experiences with deceased estates where there has been an SMSF but only a will kit, and it leads to major issues in the administration and costs.”

It may be necessary in cases like these to go to court to get clarification of how to interpret what is in a will, Ms Hacker said.

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