Options for making a will in Brisbane
We all know that making a will is important in order to settle your estate and distribute your assets and possessions in the event of your death, but for parents, making a will is an even more important task. In fact, it is essential for ensuring the security of your children’s futures and that they are provided for in the way that you wish and cared for by the people that you choose for them.
Most of us know this, but many of us still do not have a will. Looking into this further, we found that for most people, the main reasons for not having a will included the high costs involved and the uncertainty over the various options available and which was best for them.
So we have looked into the main options for making a will in Brisbane and the pros and cons of each, to help you get on track to putting your affairs in order and getting peace of mind that your loved ones will be taken care of.
Please note: This is a general overview only, and all major decisions should be made after full research and with professional legal advice.
Option 1 — Will Kits
Costing around $35, with kits such as those from Australia Post, are one of the cheapest ways of making a will. They can be a viable option if you have very simple assets and family situations. However, since they are completed by members of the general public, they could be filled out or worded incorrectly, they may not cover all alternatives and may not stand up if they are contested. Therefore, this option is only really suitable if your wishes are simple and you know that they will be supported by everyone involved. If you choose this option, you should also make sure the will is filled out, signed, dated and witnessed correctly. You may also consider having the will reviewed by a lawyer (at additional cost) to make sure that everything is in order.
- Very cheap.
- You can do it all yourself at home and in your own time.
- Can be suitable if your wishes are simple, your financial situation is uncomplicated, and your decisions are unlikely to be contested.
- You have to read a long booklet first to work out how to complete the will.
- Open to error because if you are not a qualified solicitor you may not word things in the correct way.
- Susceptible to challenges because they have not been completed professionally.
- May not cover all bases, such as all the possibilities of what should happen if various circumstances change.
- Too simple to be appropriate for people with more complex situations, such as businesses, investments, blended families, estranged children, etc.
- Some will kits require you to have them reviewed by a lawyer in order to become legal, which would involve extra fees.
Option 2 — Public Trustee Wills
With the Public Trustee of Queensland, you can make and even update your will for FREE! This a service provided by the Queensland Government and they have city and regional offices throughout the state (visit pt.qld.gov.au to find your nearest one). Making a will is as simple as calling to book an appointment (1300 360 044) and turning up with relevant ID and information on your assets, dependents and wishes.
- The will-making service is free (their executor service is not, so you will need to name someone else and not the Public Trustee as executor if you wish to avoid their fees for administering a will).
- They are the largest will-making service in Queensland.
- They provide free and safe will storage so it will never get lost.
- You are free to choose your own executor and they will pass the will over to them when required (contrary to common misconception, the Public Trustee of Queensland cannot force you to make them executor of your will, nor do they take a percentage of your estate for their service).
- There are fees involved IF you choose to have the Public Trustee as executor to administer an estate, BUT you are free to choose your own executor in your will if you wish.
Option 3 — Online Wills
Online wills are growing in popularity because of their ease and convenience. You can use this service from the comfort of your own home and complete it at your own pace. Usually, you simply fill in information and answer a series of questions, and the system automatically generates a will based on all the details you have provided. The outcome should be a professionally worded document that is more complex, professional and secure than a general layperson could achieve in a will kit, but without the high costs of using a solicitor in person. However, if you choose this option, you must ensure that you use a reputable company and fully research the service in advance. For example, a good service will let you see and review the full and complete will before you enter any payment details.
- Convenient as you can do it from your own home in your own time.
- Relatively simple as you usually have to input the relevant information rather than having to actually draft the will yourself.
- Rather than the typical two-page document that you would usually find in a will kit, an online will often includes several pages because it covers various clauses and provisions based on your information.
- If done correctly and through a reputable company, it can give you a professional and thorough will without the high fees of a solicitor.
- Not suitable if you have a complex family or financial situations.
- Like a will kit, it is still open to human error if you fill anything out incorrectly.
- May not cover all alternatives, clauses and legal issues that a professional solicitor would know to consider.
- Often does not involve personal, face-to-face contact with a professional solicitor.
- There are a whole range of good and bad online will services out there and you must choose carefully in order to find a trusted service and to be fully assured of the quality and inclusions of the service before committing to pay for anything.
Option 4 — Professional Wills
You can also choose to have a will drawn up by a solicitor. This is a professional and personal service that is highly suitable for anyone with complex financial or family situations or those wishing for ultimate peace of mind. However, it can cost anything from $150 to thousands of dollars to have a will made by a solicitor. If you wish to choose this option, you should ensure that you find an accredited solicitor.
- You can get personal guidance tailored to your individual circumstances.
- They are experienced to deal with complexities such as children, complicated family situations, complex financial situations, and so on.
- They have a wide knowledge base and can advise you on things such as alternatives you may not have considered and possible legal issues relating to your wishes.
- This is the most expensive option.
- You will need to find a solicitor or company that you can trust.
- You will need to research all of the costs involved and what you will get for your money, not just in terms of making the will, but also in releasing or administering the will when that time arises.
We hope that this information helps you in finding the best option for making your will as soon as possible and getting peace of mind for your family. We have tried to cover the main pros and cons, but please share in the comments if you have further information that would be of interest for other readers and as always you should seek quality legal advice whereever possible.