The real cost of DIY and FREE Wills

Almost everyone accepts they need a Will. They want to determine who will inherit their property on their passing and on what grounds.

The Public Trustee offers a service that provides a quick and “free” Will, and while tempting it is important to understand how the Public Trustee works. The Public Trustee does not charge to draft and store a Will only where they are appointed the executor. As executor, they will charge fees to administer the estate in addition to a commission based on the value of the estate. For an estate worth $500,000.00 it could end up costing a few thousand dollars for the Public Trustee to be your executor. And it should be noted, all of these fees are fully disclosed upfront by the Public Trustee and are available on their website. If you were to appoint your spouse, a family member or trusted friend as your executor, they are unlikely to send a bill to your estate, leaving more money for your beneficiaries.

Do it Yourself Wills have been available for quite some time- however, like with many jobs in life, you get what you pay for. Common mistakes in drafting these Wills often mean your family can be left scratching their heads as to what you actually meant to say, but didn’t communicate clearly. It is also usual for people to give away items in their Will that does not actually belong to them (such as jointly held property) or attempt to direct the payments under their superannuation or life insurance policy, that actually fall outside of an estate. If your wishes are unclear or contradictory, your family are likely to be in conflict and have to spend money seeking an interpretation of the Will. Money that may come out of your estate!

Although you may not feel rich- if you consider the value of your superannuation, your home and any other assets- you are probably quite wealthy. It makes sense to spend the money this side of the grave to ensure you get a valid Will done and one that doesn’t end up costing your beneficiaries ongoing fees.

Coutts provide efficient fixed fee Wills. We also run a dedicated Wills night, the first Monday of every month taking appointments up until 8:30pm for your convenience.