In the not so distant past, writing a Will almost always involved a costly and time consuming trip to a solicitor’s office to prepare documents, have them signed, witnessed and stored for safekeeping. And traditionally, the terms of a Will were framed in language that could be difficult for the average person to understand and interpret.
Fast forward to the 21st century and Will writing is now a very different process which has been simplified, streamlined and transformed by new technologies. Thankfully it’s now possible to prepare a Will quickly and affordably and to side-step “legalese” by using plain English.
Options for writing a Will vary widely – there are Will kits, online Will platforms and a range of professional services that allow you to prepare a Will with or without the help of a lawyer.
So, what does it actually cost to write a Will in Australia?
We look at the average costs of the most common methods below.
If your financial affairs are complicated or unusual, a legal professional can be your best bet to make sure you cover all the necessary bases when making a Will.
Some of the circumstances that might lead to consulting a lawyer include having assets overseas, when you need help minimising tax or when you want to set up a more sophisticated estate planning structure like a Testamentary Trust through your Will.
Consulting a lawyer obviously comes with a higher price tag, however, and it’s worth bearing in mind that simpler methods of writing a Will can be just as effective for those without complex financial issues to deal with.
The cost of having a solicitor prepare a Will in Australia varies widely and can be in the region of $500 to $3000 depending on what your requirements are.
You can also get your will written by the Public Trustee in your state or territory for around $500 or less.
Often in this situation, however, you’re encouraged to nominate the Public Trustee as your Executor, which comes with additional costs.
When a Public Trustee administers your estate as Executor after you die fees are based on factors such as your assets, liabilities and the number of Beneficiaries you have.
As such, you need to carefully assess the benefit of having a Will prepared by a Public Trustee and to ensure that your estate and Beneficiaries won’t be financially disadvantaged down the track.
Blank templates to make your own Will (Will kits) are available from Australia Post, seniors’ organisations and other estate planning providers for around $100 or less.
A Will kit may be a suitable option if you have extremely simple estate planning needs or have to make a Will urgently. However, simple Wills in this format have definite limitations and offer limited or no support to manage them.
There’s the possibility that a key part of the Will is left out or the terms are expressed in a way that’s confusing or makes the Will invalid.
Also, once you’ve prepared a Will using a DIY kit or template you are usually on your own in regards to reviewing and updating the Will. You need to communicate with Executors and Beneficiaries about the existence of the Will yourself and keep them up to speed on its location (if it changes).
Online Wills have rapidly become a reliable and affordable way for people to make a comprehensive Will and store it securely.
Using an easy-to-navigate online platform such as the one offered by Safewill, you are guided through all the necessary steps to make a Will, nominate a Guardian for your children and to fully explain your final wishes in a comprehensive service offered for less than $200.
Your Will is reviewed by a lawyer before you print, sign and have it witnessed. Your Executor and Beneficiaries can be easily kept in the loop and you have the opportunity to access or update your Will at any time, from anywhere, online.
If the idea of creating a bespoke online Will appeals to you, get started now in a few easy clicks with Safewill.