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Free Legal Will Kit @ Australian Seniors

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With the drone and so many JB Hi-Fi deals, worth considering this if you don’t make it tomorrow! 😝

Download Your FREE Legal Will Kit

Without a Will you cannot control who inherits your assets. This self-help kit is a simple and effective way to bring peace of mind to yourself and your loved ones without the cost of seeing a solicitor. This free download includes all the easy to understand instructions and information you need to prepare your own Will.

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  • Don't do it. See a lawyer (I am not one nor work for one).

    • Got anything to add to this? I've been meaning to get around to it, and I'm my case it's a simple "everything to the wife and young kids" scenario. I can't imagine I really need to do anything expensive for something so simple?

      • -8 votes

        Because you may have to use their executor of the will who can take a decent percentage of what you got

      • Well, do you mean everything to your wife. What if she dies at the same time? Or some sort of split?

      • Not a lawyer, but have been through a possible challenge process. Depending on the state, people can challenge either the validity of a will or their portion of an estate.

        Having a will professionally drafted reduces the risk of this. Don't use a will kit.

    • If you understand the concepts theres no reason you can't do a proper job. Take your time, be definitive (don't be afraid to add extra lines to the document or even attach another document [that is referred to in the will] for clarity and precision).

      • Will pro tip, don't leave anyone out.

        If you want to exclude someone you need to specially say that, otherwise they can challenge it

        • This comment is not correct - you can't exclude ppl from challenging wills in your Will. That's the whole purpose of family provision legislation. There are only certain classes of ppl who can challenge though. You can explain why you have excluded someone, if you want. That may assist the court in deciding whether to change your Will. generally they are loathe to change express wishes. If you are concerned about a will being challenged, get advice

          • @Jimmytwotimes: I don't think the OP was implying you can stop someone from challenging.

            He is basically saying that if you want to exclude someone, from receiving inheritance, be sure to include them in the exclusions of the will rather just leaving them out of entirely, which goes as a supplementary comment to the reply above him talking about completeness and definitiveness.

    • What do you think lawyers use?
      They use kit software themselves with standard clauses.

      If you have complex affairs with trusts etc then you should probably use a lawyer.

      A kit will is better than no will at all, which is the demographic this is targeted at!

  • I'm currently waiting for a draft of my will by a Solicitor, the cost is $300. He can explain everything, I think it's worth the peace of mind

    • You'll be dead, so it doesn't really matter how it turns out. But a lawyer just knows a bit more how to word things correctly, they don't understand your history

    • Reading a standard Will kit (like this) should help you better understand the process. That way you've more prepared if you use a Solicitor. And Solicitors are usually better at handling complex Wills.

      I've seen Solicitors make costly mistakes & appoint themselves as paid Executors.
      Always check their work & don't agree to do what benefits them, rather than you or your beneficiaries.

      • I am a wills solicitor. All humans can make mistakes. A solicitor's will can easily be rectified at the cost of the solicitor.
        I have seen badly drawn up home made wills with disastrous consequences. Relatives swooping in to take the bulk of the estate. Charities losing out. Loved ones having to face challenges over testamentary capacity. List goes on.
        In many cases a bad will is worse than no will.
        At the very least get your will checked by a solicitor.

  • A badly written will could end up being challenged in court.
    On the other hand, you're dead, so it doesn't matter.

    • Any Will can end up being challenged in court, no matter how well written!

      In my experience on many family estate matters - the documents prepared by Solicitors have caused the most problems (very basic errors - not signing in correct place, not crossing out possible multiple executors on standard forms, not certifying copies correctly, not being able to find documents in storage, etc). All have caused unexpected expenses to remedy, & caused unnecessary delays. So check their work before paying!

  • Be careful with lawyers especially state trustees the executor will take a decent chunk of the estate

  • If you happen to live in Queensland, the Public Trustee does wills for free. My wife and I did ours last week. Takes a little while to get an appointment, but the advice was sound and the guy doing it does them all day, every day. They keep the original on file so it should be safe. Worth a look https://www.pt.qld.gov.au/wills/about-wills/

    • QLD Public Trustee is still fee for service.

      Yes, there is no charge for Will preparation & storage.
      Solicitors in my experience don't charge for storage, but accessing the Will when needed costs.

      Check for any hidden fees when the Will needs to be used. People tend not to check that when preparing Wills.

      Is there a fee to access the stored Will?
      If the Public Trustee is the Executor - there will be considerable professional costs!
      They charge fees to administer the Estate after the death. Check if this applies.

      • My money is on the fact that the Public Trustee has been appointed one of or sole Executor! lol

      • You get what you pay. We went down this avenue a couple of years ago and the person who did ours in Brisbane was clueless. What's a family trust? What are those trustee company shares you own? What is a bare holding trust you're a trustee of. We stopped when the person admitted they weren't qualified to prepare a will that doesn't just give X to Y and saw a solicitor. Best $1,300 we ever spent. That also included powers of attorney.

        • QLD Government used to provide a free Enduring Power of Attorney download.

          I offered to do EPoA preparation for my parents. It only takes minutes. I did my own.

          They insisted their Solicitor do it. They paid for them to print off the same download, the Solisitor failed to cross out additional Attorneys (which meant anyone could add their name later & take control of the family finances!), & only certified the front cover of the copies - making the copies useless.

          I only saw the documents when we urgently needed to use them. Had to pay to access them in storage by the Solicitor. I then needed to redo the preparation & take for certification by a JP. The Solicitor refused to take any responsibility.

          As the documents were needed urgently for my sick Mother, it was a costly, unnecessary delay & inconvenience.

          Solicitors!

        • "You get what you pay" …for?
          Except when you don't, a fundamental Ozbargainer truth.

  • Wills, the only thing that brings family into one spot…..

  • Money saving tips😉

    If you want to leave your $ to charity - they might organise the Will.

    Always make sure your wishes are fully described in the Will!

    Don't forget medical training requires cadavers to practice on…
    Was discussing this with Uni QLD a few weeks ago. They have an annual remembrance service for families of donors. Very respectful.
    And no funeral expenses!

    • As long as you don't leave it to your "trusted" church. About 1990 a lady in Cairns left everything to the Church of England including a sizable chunk of prime rainforest beach land specifically "for the children of Cairns." Church immediately put it on the market. Green groups rallied and tried to purchase the land to at least prevent it being bulldozed (some groups do try buy properties to preserve or reinstate rainforest lands) but the developers won out. The "children" received nothing in recompense. Ask anyone living in Cairns about 1990, or research "The Cairns Post" for articles.

      • Rule 1 with money💰: No one can be "trusted"😉

        You can't control your money after you're gone. You can only try.

        There's a long history of gifts gone wrong & being misused. I know several from my own experience. It has caused a lot of fighting & misery. That's why we know about them😉

        Unless agreements are tied up so tightly taking in every eventuality, these things will happen.
        But that can be counterproductive - things change, so the funds tied up in say medical research into a cured disease can't be used elsewhere they are needed.

        For example, noble gifts to medical research & helping others - should be used for that sole purpose. But only a percentage will go into just that task.

        In the past, I've drawn up a Will to provide funds to a research facility I was involved with. I specified what the funds could be spent on - specific to the research. But after death, I can't control what is done with the funds. It would require some one to take an expensive legal challenge - which would waste the gift & likely fail.

        I am now drawing up a new Will, to provide funds to a poor overseas community to continue my past volunteer work in training & developing local people. But the funds will just tempt fraud & misuse. It's a dilemma. So the funds will likely be directed to an existing large NGO working towards similar goals.

        Once you give your money to someone else, you can't control it.
        For instance, the person or organisation can go bankrupt, with your gift used for a very different purpose. There's nothing you can do.

        My neighbour Alex, set up & owned the Currumbin Bird Sanctuary. He gifted it to an organisation as he got old. My Mother was on the board of that organisation. As I child I hung out there & loved it. So I saw it from most points of view!

        As the organisation was made up of volunteers, it was not equipped to run a major tourist facility. So they outsourced management to P&O. P&O introduced entrance fees (I still got in free). Alex & the Public were outraged.
        It had good intent, but the gift was a poor fit for that group.

  • I have had these types of free wills but never understood how to do them. I have the same "everything to wife and kid scenario". Hopefully will learn something from comments on this post.

    • Wills often have priorities of who receives the loot.
      For example, all to your spouse.
      If they are dead, your children.
      You can direct a percentage to each (more complex) but might stop squabbles.

      Just make sure there is provision for a worst case scenario - you all die at same time - who gets it then. Often other family or charity.
      And consider someone outside the immediate family who can act as co-Executor to administer the Will in that rare case.

  • Could anyone please explain what an executor does and how can they be the one benefitting from the will as said in the comments above?

    • The executor carry out the wishes in the will. If they spend money doing this, they are entitled to be reimbursed - not to profit or benefit as such. However, if you have a professional executor, such as a lawyer, public trustee or private organisation, they will be usually entitled to be reimbursed for their professional fees on top of their disbursements. The "cheapest" option is to get a family member or someone you trust, who will only get their disbursements repaid - although if they have to get professional advice, that will be included as disbursements

      • Well said. I'm currently an Executor as a family member, & Beneficiary!

        • Can the executor cheat against the wishes of the will? Also once you have signed your will, where do you keep it? Does the executor keep it safe? What if he loses it or does not tell anyone hehas the will?

          • @amsaini15: No. That would be breach of trust.
            Can usually keep with solicitor free of charge. Will be kept in a fire proof safe.
            Best practice is to tell your exec where will is.

          • @amsaini15: My practice is for the Executor to have a safely stored certified copy of Will & details of where Will is stored.

            Storage options include a small fireproof safe in the house (handy for storing important documents), storage at bank (annual fee) or Solicitor if they drew up Will (legal cost to retrieve).

            My family has a locked strong box (not fire proof!) stored safely, with documents going back over 150 years in Australia (eg family member's Ballarat gold miners licence from Eureka Stockade days)😉

    • The Executor can also be the Beneficiary. They carry out the wishes of the deceased, in handing over the estate to themselves💰

      • I am also Executor of a parent's will. Doubt anyone in the family would agree over anything so I managed to at least convince another to be joint Executor. I am of the understanding that matters can be left with a solicitor if the Executor/s wish. Is this correct?

        • Not sure as in my limited experience, I handle all matters for the family.

          But as Executor, it is up to you to decide how to deal with the Will, which could mean using a paid professional.

          As for disputing siblings likely to challenge the distribution, there is a long history in Royal families of ridding themselves of troublesome money-grabbers😉

  • Good to be familiar with your State's Probate process in resolving who has authority over the deceased Estate. It has costs & takes time.

    Simple matters often don't require Probate. But over $50k in any one bank, or Residential Accomodation Deposit in a care facility may require Probate to release it.
    (I set up an Estate bank account with ATO Tax Trust - see below, to shift funds into which avoided the need for Probate in that case.)

    Also, it established if there may be a more recent Will.

    A grant is a Supreme Court document that recognises someone’s authority to deal with the estate of a person who has passed away. Probate is often needed before the executor of a deceased estate can take control of the estate’s assets (administer the estate). (QLD)

  • In managing a deceased Estate, the Executor can set up a Tax Trust with the ATO (requires setting up new TFN).

    This can be an advantage for some.
    Handy in complex Wills - allows time to deal with disputes.
    Instead of immediately inheriting, this can be delayed while it is invested. Tax paid (if any) may be much lower than the Beneficiary might otherwise pay!
    Tax paid in the first 3 years is at personal tax rates. After 3 years, tax is paid on every $.

    Search on ATO site for details.
    Normally set up through a Solicitor, but I've easily set one up.

    • Then there's testamentary trusts … I've read that beneficiaries are allowed to receive 20k/year tax free … seems like a good deal for someone leaving behind a decent nest egg.

      • Just consider the particular circumstances of the recipiants.

        For example, Pensions of those receiving the distribution may be affected by the Deemed income that money produces under the Income Test, or raise their assets under the Assets Test.

        On the other hand, receiving the full amount from the Will may affect them worse.
        But they could then sink the money into a house to live in & their Pension may not be affected! The Great Australian Dream home - the Tax & Welfare dodge!

        It's a complex area, so seek advice.

        The Government provides a free impartial service (Financial Information Service) to help those receiving benefits to consider financial implications of different approaches.

  • Just out of interest for the legal eagles out there is it true that leaving token amounts to people you don't really want challenging your estate makes it harder for them to do so?

    I have a family member who wants to leave his 2 kids his modest farm interstate and he has a defacto.

    Cheers

    • I'm not a lawyer but from what I've read here that's not true.

      However, I believe that if you specify the reason for what you've left the person it can help if it's challenged. For instance, if you said "John gets nothing as we've been estranged for 20 years since he slept with my wife" it'll be taken into consideration if the matter goes to court.

      You just need to make sure that the reason you give is a damned good one, and fully justified.

      • Cheers mate,

        That's the understanding I'm getting too

      • This is correct. That is unfortunately a common myth.
        A good reason will often work but a no contest clause works even better.

        • There is no such thing as a “no contest” clause… at least in nsw and qld the courts have discretion to give provision contrary to any clause in a will

  • It's for people who have stuff to give away. All I've got is my OZB membership. :P

  • My first wife died about 30 years ago. I can't recall if we had a will or not. I didn't take it to probate. In VIC there is the capability (a form with small payment) for transferring the property to the survivor if you have joint ownership. Make sure that you can keep control of your money. If you have a joint bank account then transfer the money to a single account possibly in another bank. Take the money in cash and walk it over to the next bank. That was my experience 30 years back. Things may be different now.

    • I heard now they freeze the accounts as soon as the bank receives notice, but someone told me with online banking the trick is to quickly transfer the money to a different bank under your name before notice is received, it might be difficult as whoever that person is might be too busy dealing with grief. Which I guess is the modern version of walking up to the next bank with a bag of cash lol

      • Transfer of jointly owned property (house, car, etc) is the easiest property transfer after a death, as you are already the owner. It requires removal of the name of the deceased from the Title - a form & small fee. These matters are handled differently by each State.

        As soon as the council & utilities are notified of the death - it may affect charges due to possible loss of Concessions.

        Yes, banks have to freeze accounts as soon as they are notified. As the Executor is the one usually notifying, they can decide when to notify. I've learnt not to be too eager & seek advice (eg ring the bank).

        As Executor, I quickly transferred money out of online only accounts to linked accounts in deceased name. It may be a more difficult process to deal with those accounts otherwise.

        I've seen people steal what ever they can as soon as a person dies. It can get nasty.
        So banks lock up the account until you produce the Death Certificate & the Will. You then wait. And wait longer if the bank insists on Probate to ensure the person has the authority to act.

        Of course, seek advice for your particular case!

  • In Queensland (not sure about other states) it's free to make a will with the Public Trustee. Probably a better deal than this. And they will save and store your will in their offices which is also something that offers peace of mind that it won't disappear upon your passing.

    https://www.pt.qld.gov.au/wills/about-wills/

    • Already discussed Free to prepare & store - but there may be costs when it comes time to use the Will. Always check first! It's a fee for service operation.

      • I work there. There are no fees to make or store. Or anything at the time of death, unless the public trustee is the executor which the testator chooses at the time the will is made. If not, no public trustee fees at all.

        • Thanks for the details. That's good to know👍 I might pop in to do my will😉
          I suggested best to check before you agree to something that may cost later.

    • what about the other states?

  • Also be aware of the timing & use of the Will. And make plenty of Certified Copies (for banks, etc) - can be done by Executor after the death.

    In QLD, the Titles Office require the original Will to be kept by them when transferring real estate to the Beneficiaries.
    If the family home is transferred before other matters are finalised… the Executor has no original Will to complete those matters!

    As they say, in life death - it's all about timing😉

  • I work for the public trustee and make wills and administer estates. I highly recommend looking into things properly because almost all of these comments are way off the mark regarding wills and estates. The legislation in each state is going to be very different too so research the rules for your area.

    • almost all of these comments are way off the mark regarding wills and estates

      Would be handy if you could briefly correct our inaccuracies.

      • I could only really comment on queensland, I have limited knowledge on the other states. I'd suggest contacting the public trustee for general advice. It won't cost anything unless you engage the organisation to undertake a service.

        • Many of the comments are from Queenslanders like myself. So feel free to limit your comments to that State.

          As you joined OzBargain yesterday to post these comments - realise all comments on OzBargain are just general discussion - the opinions & experience of members. Some may not be relevant or even be accurate. It is not a specialised legal forum.

          Of course in any matter like this people should seek advice. Advice given by different Solicitors in the same matter can also be different.

          My comments draw on my experiences & advice sought with Wills & family estate matters in QLD - which may not be relevant to others.

          • @the INFIDEL: I do understand all of that. The main reason I signed up was to confirm the costs of the public trustee for you.

            • @Biziorek: Appreciate you confirming costs & that your service can provide completely free Wills.

              But you claimed almost all of these comments are way off the mark regarding wills and estates without elaborating!

              That's a sweeping statement questioning a large number of comments, not just confined to my comment about possible fees with your service.

              There can be some fees for services associated with making a Will at QLD Public Trustee - which you confirmed. But those can be avoided.

              In general, those considering making a Will need to be informed - seek advice. Check if there are any costs that arise when the Will is needed to be used. Those costs are often overlooked at time of drafting.

  • I would not recommend a kit like this. A simple will prepared by the right lawyer (efficient and professional) is relatively inexpensive (Some lawyers specify the cost upfront, and others can give a range too). It’s usually $350-500 if not complicated.

    Usually you get a will because you care about what happens to your money (you have a family, you care about where your money goes etc). If you care then you’ll make sure it’s done properly. Nothing is certain but it’s all about reducing risk.

    Yes, laws vary state to state but a lot of the law overlaps (Reg insufficient provision claims etc).

    • Unfortunately Solicitors DO make mistakes.

      For example, only when trying to use a simple Enduring Power of Attorney drawn up by Solicitors, I found it unusable. Unfortunately I was never shown the document at the time - I had offered to do it for free.

      As my Mother was by then incapable of making competent directions, the family was left in a very difficult situation.

      The Solicitors were no help, just sent a bill for retrieval of the stored document & threats when we said we weren't paying for their incompetence.

      These documents are often only viewed when we need to use them. Finding them incorrectly drafted at that point is exasperated.

      Always check - mistakes are too easy to make & may have enormous consequences when needing to be used!

      • Yes, absolutely! You should always check documents yourself - especially for basic information (like name etc).

        If they were negligent you have plenty of opportunity to report them to the Legal Practice Board.

  • I thought there was no such thing as free will?

  • Should be OK if it is a sensible will e.g. estate simply left to spouse, then to kids in equal shares if spouse predeceases.

    Where is the link to exclusions and disclaimers? I have a feeling the most water-tight provisions of these will kits are the disclaimers and exceptions.

    I 've heard of people using these kits where they do things like:
    1) appointing themselves as executor and sole beneficiary,
    2) had only one witness- sometimes themselves;
    3) have unenforceable provisions in the will like I direct my executor not sell my house to anyone who is Chinese or no gift shall be left to any of my grandchildren who are gay or marry someone Lebanese.
    4) Gift property they do not even own or which does not even exist.
    5) misname charities e.g. "stray cats" (all of'em)
    6) Being too descriptive e.g. A will should not list specific property if possible e.g. by limiting gift to an addresses. A property may not even exist at the date death e.g. may be compulsorily acquired for a motorway . Better to be general and just give a %.

    • Mistakes can be made by anyone.

      Often the most inexperienced legal trained staff at Solicitors are assigned to draw up Wills.
      They may have never drafted a Will before & may have no personal experience of the consequences of a poorly drafted Will.
      That may not be appropriate for the needs of many.

      The risk is, because you are paying a legally trained person, you think they must know more & they will correctly draft the Will. That may not be the case.

      And the drafting of the Will relies on (sometimes inaccurate) information provided by the client. So have your information prepared & checked before drawing up a Will!

      Check that details in the Will (eg spelling of names) are correct & instructions as you directed.

      Wills should be reviewed after major life events & rewritten where necessary. It is unlikely people would have only 1 unchanged Will in their life.
      (I'm about to draft my 4th as I need to again change executor & benefactors - possibly with help from this kit. Others were drafted free by friends who are experienced Solicitors.)

      So errors should be checked & corrected - even if it's over time.

      And those wanting you to pay for their service… are not above magnifying the risks associated with preparing your own simple Will😉

      • Lawyers have $2 Million insurance per claim in most cases. Precedent Packages from legal publishers are insured as well. It may be hard to sue a DIY will kit which will defend a claim against them on the basis that the punter did not follow instructions.

        • I found trying to seek compensation for incorrect drafting of simple EPoA document was not worth the effort & expense of fighting it.
          And after the loss of a loved one, it is never a pleasant task to bring it up again in a case.

          Lawyers & their insurers like to hold onto their $. All we got from the Solicitors was threats!

          People using a kit would usually be using it for simple distribution of small amounts, which would not justify the expense of seeking advice from Solicitors. So any claim against the publishers of the kit likely would be small.

          With claims against Solicitors or publishers of the kit, the defense would likely be similar…
          That the client / user had failed to correctly identify benefactors or give correct directions, & failed to check the completed document. I expect either would be a hard case to win.

          • @the INFIDEL: Claims against lawyers for estate disputes are pretty common. Often the negligence is due to departing from using the tried and tested and very expensive precedent package.

            What determines if it is worth suing is how much you lost as a result of negligence. If all that happened was a a minor delay or nuisance but not a huge monetary loss you will not get compensation. But if someone loses say $50,000 or more it is worth suing. Law Cover (lawyers' insurer) play hardball in the beginning but they will make offers if you have a genuine claim.