Will You Save Money by Writing Your Own Will?
Why are there different costs for wills?
A quick Google search reveals that making a will in Australia can cost as little as a few dollars or as much as several thousand. Why the discrepancy? Because the cost of a will is determined by its complexity and type – e.g., DIY kit, online will, via the Public Trustee or a law firm.
The good news is that Ballantyne Law Group’s estate planning lawyers are highly qualified to handle this serious and sensitive legal process. We provide fixed professional fees where possible, and always offer cost-effective, transparent and time-costed services with no surprise charges for photocopying, petties, postage and sundries.
How much can I expect to pay a lawyer?
Fees for wills are not regulated so charges can vary between law firms. You can outlay anywhere from $250-$500 or more per hour for a lawyer to prepare and administer your will. However, and as stated, there are factors in wills/estates that increase costs.
At Ballantyne Law Group, the expense of engaging our estate planning team is offset by our industry-leading expertise and scrupulous attention to legal detail. This is important for all estates, but particularly those with more complex circumstances such as blended families, overseas assets, tax implications, testamentary trusts and other matters.
… the Public Trustee?
In Queensland, the Public Trustee is the statutory authority that deals with estate administration. It charges a fee-for-service rather than a percentage commission and the amount is based on factors including the number and type of assets, the number of beneficiaries, the validity of the will, probate and other considerations. Costs rise as services increase.
The Public Trustee’s role continues until all bequests have been dispersed, all financial liabilities have been resolved and the administration of the estate has been completed. Learn more at Queensland Government Public Trustee.
… for DIY kits or online wills?
Available from newsagents, post offices and other outlets, DIY will kits are best suited to basic wills or if you urgently need a will. While cheap at under $100 in most cases, DIY kits may lack legal depth and detail, which could leave your will more open to challenge and even jeopardise its validity.
Pricing varies for online wills, with many offering extras such as package deals, document review by lawyers, witnessing, and other incentives. Again, Google finds plenty of options between $100 and $200 and then upwards, depending on the provision of services. Many online providers advise customers to engage a solicitor for more complex estates.
Save now … count the cost later
On first glance, the combination of choice, convenience and cost-saving may seem ideal for making a legal will without dealing with lawyers. However, be wary of a false economy. If even the slightest problem arises, you might end up needing a lawyer anyway and then paying more than had you consulted one in the first place.
Ballantyne Law Group’s estate planning lawyers understand every aspect of will preparation and management, which means you, your executors and beneficiaries can be confident in our professional standards.