The cost of a Will in Australia involves making a written declaration describing how property will be distributed after someone passes away. This enables the deceased to leave assets and any other possessions to nominated beneficiaries.
A Will is a legal document that ensures the proper distribution of property and assets. It is critical to have an up-to-date and accurate Will in place. This is not only for someone’s peace of mind but also for the benefit of the beneficiaries. A proper Will can help in avoiding disputes and arguments after someone’s passing.
We’ve prepared some helpful guides and pointers in this article in understanding the factors that affect the cost of a Will in Australia.
The Cost Of A Will In Australia: NSW’s Requirements
If the deceased died without having made a valid Will, they died intestate. The Succession Act 2006 establishes the rules of intestacy in New South Wales. Rather than the deceased’s executor applying for probate in these circumstances, the Supreme Court of NSW will issue letters of administration.
This allows an administrator to distribute assets in accordance with the intestacy rules. An administrator is usually the deceased’s spouse or next of kin. The validity of a Will needs a number of legal requirements in NSW.
The supreme court may still conclude the cost of a Will in Australia if it is satisfied after considering any evidence relating to the execution and intentions of a Will.
Here are the requirements:
- You must be at least 18 years old. The Supreme Court grants permission to minors if they can make a Will. This is possible if minors understand what a Will is and if the proposed Will accurately reflects their intentions.
- You must sign and write the Will.
- Two witnesses must have witnessed you signing the Will. The witnesses must attest and sign.
- You must have testamentary capacity to prepare and know the cost of a Will in Australia. This means you understand the effect of a Will and what assets you own. Critically, you do not have a mental health issue that interferes with your ability to make rational decisions. If you lack testamentary capacity the Supreme Court can make a Will on your behalf.
- You know who to list as a beneficiary in your Will.
Choosing Your Executor
The executor named in a Will manages the deceased’s estate. This includes organising your funeral, collecting your assets, and distributing them to your creditors and beneficiaries. The executor is subject to plenty of legal obligations. This includes both common law, statute, and the Trustee Act of 1925 (NSW).
For example, common law requires executors to ‘get in your assets and pay expenses before distributing them in accordance with your Will. Your executor can be a family member, a friend, or a solicitor.
A solicitor can fulfil an executor’s duties. Solicitors are legally equipped about the cost of a Will in Australia. Before appointing an executor, consider their age, willingness to handle your estate, relationship with the beneficiaries, and the ability to carry out the duties of an executor.
How Marriage And Children Affects The Cost Of A Will In Australia
Your Will is null and void if you marry after making a Will in NSW. A will can be valid by the following instances:
- Preparing a Will in anticipation of a marriage
- Your spouse received distributions at the time of your death
Divorce won’t revoke a Will. However, any provisions in your Will directing distributions to your former spouse or naming your former spouse as executor, trustee, or guardian will be revoked. A deceased person can name someone in their Will as their guardian if they have minor children.
As young as they may seem, children can be executors of a Will. The guardian is responsible for the administration of the Will if the child is under 18.
If you have multiple executors and one of them is a minor, the grant will be made to the other executors. This enables the minor to apply for probate once they reach the age of 18.
The children equally receives the deceased’s estate if there is no spouse. If alone, the spouse can also receive the entire deceased’s estate.
The Cost Of A Will In Australia: What To Tell Your Lawyer
A good lawyer will be able to go over what is important and ask questions about things you may not have considered when putting together your Will. A lawyer will require the type of assets and how it is intended to be distributed to know the cost of a Will in Australia.
Here is the information that your lawyer will need if necessary:
- If there are any other people that can receive the assets other than immediate family members
- Minor children that need to be cared for
- Pets that need arrangements
- Gifts and contributions for charities and other organisations
- Dependents that need a disability trust
Solicitors consider all possible factors and provide accurate quotes possible when establishing the cost of a Will in Australia. The cost of a Will in Australia can vary depending on a number of factors, especially on it’s level of complexity
NSW regulations tightly monitor a Will’s requirements. To put it simply, lawyers recommend to avail of their services in writing a Will as they understand how to properly draft one.
Importance Of Seeking Legal Aid
A legal professional can handle complicated and unconventional financial affairs. Some of the reasons you might need legal aid include having assets abroad and needing assistance with tax planning.
JB Solicitors ensures that you cover all of the necessary bases when writing your Will and the costs that come along with it. Our Wills and estate planning lawyers can help you set up a more sophisticated estate planning structure like a testamentary trust through your Will.
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