Preparing a Will is essential for a person to have the opportunity to clearly indicate how they wish their estate should be distributed after their demise. Since estate planning is very important, the topic of cost of Will in Australia is important for everyone to be able to complete their estate planning within a budget.
Before we explore the cost of Will in Australia, this section introduces a few terms which are important to keep in mind when learning any topic related to Wills. The Will-maker is often called as the testator; an executor is responsible for the administration and distribution of the estate following the death of the testator; and beneficiaries are those who receive an entitlement from the estate of the deceased.
The objective of this article is to understand the cost of Will in Australia by exploring the different methods through which Wills can be prepared.
Cost Of Will In Australia: How To Make A Will?
To understand cost of Will in Australia, you also need to know about the various ways through which you can prepare a Will. Importantly, there are some steps to complete to ensure that your Will is legally valid.
Broadly, there are three ways through which you can go about making a Will. These are:
- Through lawyers or solicitors
- Through public trustee – In NSW, this is the NSW Trustee & Guardian
- By using do-it-yourself (DIY) kits or online kits
Notably, when a person dies without a Will, they are said to die intestate. In such circumstances, the person’s assets will be distributed according to some formula set by the legislation of that particular state.
This would mean that the person’s assets will not be distributed according to the person’s wishes and intentions. In the long-run, after the death of the deceased, this can create conflicts in the family.
For these reasons, it is always advised that we complete our estate planning, and clearly state our wishes in terms of how the property and assets should be distributed.
Eligibility Requirements And What You Need To Make A Will
The following are the eligibility requirements which a person must fulfil: –
- The person must be over 18 years of age (unless they are married);
- The person must have testamentary capacity . This means that they know the legal effect of a Will, be aware of the extent of their estate etc, must not have any mental illness which prevents them from making rational choices.
To make a Will, there is some information and some documents which you will require. This includes:
- Names and addresses and all details of beneficiaries of the Will i.e. who you wish to leave your assets with;
- A full list of all your assets – including bank accounts, real property, investments, superannuation
- Names of guardians where there are children under the age of 18 who are named as beneficiaries
- Any special gifts meant for some individuals or organisations
- Full names and details of the executor who will be responsible for distribution of estate, and making funeral arrangements according to deceased’s wish
Cost Of Will In Australia
- DIY Method
As mentioned above, using online Will templates has become common, especially after lockdowns were imposed due to the pandemic. DIY Wills are fairly straightforward and are recommended only for simple estate planning.
This is because in case of complex Wills, DIY method will not be helpful as there are high chances for this Will to be considered legally invalid. Each jurisdiction in Australia has specific requirements which need to be fulfilled to make the Will legally recognisable.
When making DIY Wills, this factor is often forgotten, and where complex estate is involved, using such online templates will not help in the long-run. There are many cons attached with DIY Wills – read here to learn more.
The cost of Will in Australia when using DIY templates can range around 30 AUD – 50 AUD. However, because of its limitations, it is not recommended for complex estate planning.
2. Public Trustee
In NSW, the public trustee organisation will charge around 330 AUD for those who are not eligible for pension. Many people opt to use their services and appoint an Executor from the organisation. In this case, the charges will be higher.
3. Estate Planning Solicitors
Depending on different law firms, estate planning solicitors charge different costs. Some law firms have fixed-fee structures, while others offer service-based fees.
It is important that clients have cost agreements when they approach an estate planning solicitor. This way they will have a clear idea of their legal cost of Will in Australia.
Importantly, when approaching lawyers for this task, you can also get legal advice along with estate planning. For these reasons, contacting legal professionals is often considered the safest and best method to prepare a Will.
At JB Solicitors, for all simple Wills, we charge a fixed-fee of 330 AUD. Because we often get couples who wish to complete their estate planning together, we also offer couple packages for simple Wills where we charge 550 AUD for a couple.
Legal Advice For Estate Planning
Estate planning should not be taken lightly. This is something which can cause serious conflicts and disputes if not executed properly. By now you have an idea of the cost of Will in Australia, and so you can make a better call about the approach you’d like to take for estate planning.
The most efficient way to complete estate planing is by obtaining legal advice which can be offered only by solicitors. Often, people are unsure whether they have a simple or complex estate. To clear up such confusions, it is important to have an initial consultation with an experienced solicitor.
At JB Solicitors, we have an expert team of estate planning solicitors who can make this process smooth for you. People assume that estate planning is only about Wills. However, there are many other things involved such as appointing a Power of Attorney, understanding tax implications etc.
If you have more questions related to cost of Will in Australia, please do not hesitate to get in touch with our expert team today.
Contact us for all enquiries.