This was posted 2 years 6 days ago, and might be an out-dated deal.

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Free Legal Will Kit @ Australian Seniors


An OzReminder for those who need it, link still works.

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.

Credit to ilovefullprice for the original

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  • +42

    username checks out

  • this or see a solicitor? i've got two dependants (wife and child) who would be the 100% beneficiaries

    • +2

      Your circumstances seem quite simple, so this is probably enough for you

      • +7

        He could get a second wife to complicate things a bit.

    • +14

      The best use of a solicitor is before signing a contract of marriage

      • +4

        So, so true. Everything seems so wonderful at the beginning… and at the end if you end up being one of the unfortunate percentage of people that end up divorcing, it gets very messy and difficult. Would have been much better if there was some thought put to it when everyone was wearing rose coloured glasses :-|

        • +2

          DealhunterMelbourne. It's not your fault. It's not your fault.

      • I would say the best use is to marry one…

    • +7

      Disclaimer: IANAL

      Although they claim this is a legal document it's best to lodge it with a solicitor or the Public Trustee in your state. They're great for helping you to prepare a will but they can still be contestable by 'interested parties' (read: anyone who wants to make it difficult and draw out the process of executing it, to the detriment of your beneficiaries). To ensure your wishes are carried out after you're gone you really should seek proper legal advice. Besides, when someone else is looking after it you'll be less likely to lose the darn thing - don't laugh, it happens and that makes things hella complicated later on.

      If you're concerned about cost then consult the Public Trustee. Most of them won't charge you to prepare it, but they will charge your estate when it's time to execute the will. I'm going through that process right now in NSW with a family member who died earlier this year.

      • +11

        Public trustee charges a decent chunk of the estate + in Qld they have been tainted by corruption investigations.

        • +5

          In NSW it's going to cost us nearly $14K in fees once it's all complete, and that's for a relatively uncomplicated will with no contestation. It's a sliding scale that charges a percentage for each $100K of estate value up to $300K, and then a flat percentage after that. I forget exactly what it is but if anyone is interested I can dig it up. The staff there have been very helpful to us thus far, although they've warned us on multiple occasions that it won't be fast (7-12 months).

        • +2

          Only if they are named as the Executor of the will, and in doing so there are genuine costs involved.

          In Victoria (at least) there is no charge for lodging your will with State Trustees.

          • +2

            @huwcar: No charge for lodging a will with the Qld Public Trustee either.
            I know plenty of people who have used the service and not had a problem.
            Well, I don't know them anymore…

            The Public Trustee will charge to execute a will, but so will anyone, including solicitors. Solicitors get very expensive very quickly, the Trustee uses flat rates.

            • @bazzaa: The public trustee charges a percentage of the estate value.

              It's not a bad thing. If your estate is worth a truckload then you should be going to a solicitor.

        • +2

          The NSW Public Trustees have an appalling reputation also.

        • The Qld Public Trustee was cleared of corruption charges.

      • +17

        Do not DO NOT DO NOT use the public trustee as the executor of your will. At least in NSW.

        My brother made this mistake and his daughter has had a huge amount of her inheritance eaten up with their fees. Their complete lack of maintenance on his flat means it's probably fallen in value. Their engagement with the family was abysmal. Awful organisation.

        Find a solicitor you like.

        • +1

          Can you explain further? How much were the fees? And what maintenance is expected by teh executor?

      • +10

        Disclaimer: IANAL

        Why mention your sexual preferences?

        • +2

          Because these things are important in a will! After all you want your wishes/preferences known so…….people can execute them?!?

      • +9

        As others have stated I would not go anywhere near the Public Trustee.

      • +1

        You are absolutely correct on getting a solicitor to do your Will. I have seen problems created by "interested parties" who contest the Will and ended up costing a big chuck of the Estate in fees, you are better off spending the money to get it right in the first place then having issues when you are gone. I work in a law firm and that's my experience.

    • +1

      The complexity comes from if you both die at the same time eg car crash

  • +15

    As a lawyer who prepares wills I've seen far too many headaches and wasted legal costs from people challenging or contesting homemade wills which are either unclear, unfair or not been prepared properly. If you really want to look after your loved ones go see a lawyer.

    • +2

      Agree. These things aren't worth the paper it's written on.

      • +6

        If the intent is clear a will made on the back of a bar coaster and witnessed by two randoms will be fine.

        • +4

          only if there is no chance of it being contested. I have watched first hand my mother going through hell and losing over a 100k in legal costs and then losing another 25% of the estate due to the will of her husband of 24 years being contested by his Ex. He thought he was careful enough to express his desires clearly, the court decided otherwise. There is more to a will than just clearly articulating your wishes.

          • @gromit: That sounds crazy. How can she have a claim after 24 years?

            • +2

              @ratbag: They had a kid together, but he had already given him his share of the inheritance and paid her money throughout his childhood to look after him, hence they were left out of the will intentionally and this was explained in the will, but they successfully challenged and claimed that money was a gift and unrelated and it was therefore wrong they were left out. The worst part was the bloody lawyers telling my mother "don't worry about the cost it all comes out of the estate, you don't pay a cent" given she was the basically the estate this always made her steaming mad.

    • In most cases your loved ones are reasonable and will not contest your wishes. But sure if you believe you have trouble makers then go seek legal advice.

    • +12

      I don't have much to be contested, just this OzB account with 13 badges…

      • +9

        What of the eneloops?

      • What about your vast library of Udemy courses, all brand new?

      • Whatever is pending and left to be cashed out of your Shopback account?

    • +1

      out of curiosity, who can contest your will? i.e. only people in your family (i.e. related by blood) or potentially any tom, dick or harry out there?

      • According to hg lawyers (

        The person contesting must prove that he or she is eligible to make a claim by being a designated Eligible Person. Each state and territory has different categories of people who may contest a will. Usually, a brother or sister of the deceased is not considered an eligible person. The only people who can contest a will are the deceased’s spouse or former spouse, children, grandchildren, registered caring partners and dependents.

        The person contesting must also prove that the deceased had a duty or responsibility to provide proper support and maintenance for the lifestyle he or she was used to during the deceased’s lifetime.

    • +5

      A lot of this was discussed in last free will kit Deal

      Have had so many family members contesting solicitor wills, or threatening to. My family!
      But often it's more about family rivalry than money, as they had to spend money to usually get nothing.
      If people want a chance at the estate, they will consider contesting any will.

      A solicitor appointing themself as paid executor, along with family member - that caused so many problems.
      And basic mistakes made by solicitors that I found, but then was charged to change paperwork that could not be used. When I challenged the bill, I received a legal threat.

      • The solicitor normally DOES NOT appoint himself / herself as the executor of a Will unless he / she is being asked by the maker of the Will and for legitimate reason because as an executor there is great amount of responsibility when dealing with ALL things stated in the Will. Most of the time, the solicitor will suggest to the maker of the Will to ask his adult children or someone he / she trusts to be their executor. I have only come across ONE Will that the executor is the solicitor who prepared the Will purely because the maker's children were under 18 when he had his Will prepared and he didn't change it over the years but even then, when asked by the maker's now grown son, he had no issue in giving up his executor-ship back to the son.

        • +1

          Yes, realise the family member had appointed the solicitor preparing the will - as executor.
          She (a church Minister) told me she was doing that to punish her Brother she appointed executor! (She knew he would hate doing the same work, but not being paid like the solicitor.)

          I did not see it as appropriate. But challenging that would likely have cost more than he was charging. So I helped the Brother & solicitor come to an agreement - family member did most of the work (charging only costs incurred) & solicitor did what they do best - oversaw the process.

          Wills can be used as weapons of revenge!! Families as I said!

    • +6

      Of course as a lawyer, you will see many wills that are contested. Just like mechanic sees all the cars with faults.

      The issue is, how many wills are contested, compared to wills not, and the same with cars needing repair.

      The other issue is that there are legal rights regarding Estates, and default shares allocated. When a will differs from these, then disputes can occur.

      Also when you have large families and disfunctional families then things get complex. In these cases a professional can help, but again like everything with law and lawyers it’s not guaranteed.

      The other issue is that challenges to any will are funded by the estate, so if you are left nothing, then the threat of a challenge might be cheaper for the recipients to pay rather than the legal costs of defending, given that the defence and prosecution is paid out of the estate.

      • +3

        The reality is for mechanic or lawyer - they're not all good. There are some good lawyers and some good mechanics; not a lot of either as in most professions.

        If you have a good lawyer or a good mechanic, you should be fine. Otherwise you're paying to waste your money. Seek out those with a good reputation - bad business should not be rewarded.

    • +1

      How much (roughly) does it cost for a proper solicitor to draw up a 'straghtforward' will ( partner and child as beneficiaries)? Would be interested to know. NSW

      • +2

        I know someone that had it done recently. $500.

        • I had one done in Vic just recently - State Trustees, $330.

      • +2

        Did this not long ago. Wills for my wife and I were $500 together. Our child was full beneficiary and we appointed a guardian too.

    • +1

      So… a lawyer prepared will can't be contested? Doesn't cost anything to be contested? What's the advantage really?

    • So even a water-tight will can be challenged by interested parties, right?

      And legal fees are paid by the estate, I can see it's all doomed.

  • +26

    thanks op, now I'll have peace of mind that my sons will not fight for my Udemy courses on court after I passed away

    • +3

      imagine the fight over who gets the Eneloops!

      • +4

        they will go with me as grave goods, I've already consulted my old Asian gods…

        • don't forget to bring a smart charger too…

    • +3

      Don't forget the Epic Games and Amazon E-books

  • Tell each of your loved ones that they're going to inherit 100% of your assets… Then enjoy the greedy carnage after you die from heaven!
    Oh and use this free will kit to donate it all to charity just to make things even more fun!

    • +2

      Charity will get nothing, the estate pays the fees of challenge and defence, so nothing lost by your relatives challenging until it is all gone. It’s a lawyers picnic

      • +2

        The lawyers are always the winners

        • …after the undertakers.

  • -2

    Direct link? Without giving email address and waiting for an email.

  • +1

    Only if OZB will leave anything in my backaccount before I die. I had $10 in my pocket and there goes the woolies giftcard cashback offer.

  • +14

    Direct link for anyone who wants to avoid providing their email:

    • +1

      Thanks. My browser was not displaying a link on the OP's linked page. You saved me sorting out which extension requires crippling.

  • Anyone knows what happens for people who don't have any immediate family and no relatives living in Australia, and the beneficiary on the will is living overseas and a foreigner? Can the executor distribute asserts to foreigner living overseas?

    • Yes.

  • The biggest transfer of assets in human history is at our doorsteps. Anyone that is of the right age should make sure their affairs are in order so that their assets goes to the right places.

  • If you're receiving a full pension, it's free at NSW Trustee & Guardian:

    Check for other states/territories.

    Obviously don't just default to engaging them for other services, but use your judgement.

    • +1

      That's only preparation. Execution of the will is still charged to the estate, seen under the Executor Fees and Charges link.

      • +2

        I said use your judgement engaging them for other services. Does this post have free execution?

  • +3

    Mate is a solicitor, basically a one man suburban shop, 50% of his business is family law and about 40% contested wills. Pretty sad really.

  • +1

    I found this site pretty good, aimed at all ages not just seniors - good to have something set up just in case regardless of how old you are :)

  • Wish they taught this in schools, and not just triangles for a whole term

    pops doesn't even have a will i think, he just put me and my bro as beneficiaries in his Super account online, will it be a problem?

    • +2


  • +8

    Wills are the easy part of dealing with death…

    Written as a general guide (seek good advice). Different States, banks, etc operate differently. I've been dealing with various aspects of family estate matters & the dying since I was a teenager!

    Wills add clarity to a person's intentions of how their assets should be distributed.

    But there have been cases of people dying without a will, just leaving a note of what they intended. It works, just can be a lot more complicated, likely expensive & slower. Otherwise a court will make a decision.

    Most authorities require a direction (Will) to release assets to the correct person. Transferring larger amounts of money or property (eg $50+k with banks) usually requires not only a Will & proof of death, but also the Will be proven valid by the Supreme Court. Probate can be time consuming & costs.

    And as soon as banks are notified of the Death - accounts are frozen. This can make things difficult! Funeral expenses can be paid out of the frozen account. Payment of other direct debits - unlikely, ask your bank!
    With a Will & Death Certificate (after funeral), funds in the deceased person's accounts can be moved into another account by the bank's Deceased Account section.

    I've seen family & friends strip assets of a rich neighbour, while the funeral was happening!! Trust no one!

    If you’re named as executor in someone’s will, you are responsible for carrying out the terms of the will when they die.
    To do this, you may have to apply for probate, which is the court’s recognition that the will is legally valid and you’re authorised to deal with the estate.

    In a recent family matter, the person was in an aged care facility. There was a Will drawn up by a solicitor. I was named sole Executor.

    The Refundable Accommodation Deposit paid to the home was huge (typically over $300k). But that couldn't be released until the Will had been validated through the legal process of Probate.

    I avoided that by setting up an estate account, named in "the estate of…" that person. That way the facility didn't distribute the funds as directed by the Will, but put it into the deceased's estate account. Don't put it into another account in their name - Probate will be needed to release the funds. From there I could easily direct the funds as outlined in the Will.

    I requested a Tax File Number for the estate as the matter would not be finalised that tax year. That gives a Tax free income on the estate for a few years - up to the threshold of personal income tax. Otherwise every $ earnt by the estate (interest, the house is now rented, etc) is taxed.

    But all that needed a Will to be sighted to show I was the Executor.

    The house is held as in "the estate of…". At least in Qld, that needs to be the last asset distributed. The original Will needs to be surrendered before the property is transferred.

    Wills often list a line of succession, directing the assets to one person, but if they are dead, the next to inherit & so on.
    If acting as Executor on a Will, you will need to prove the other mentioned benefactors are dead (Death Certificate)!

    Wills need updating after new family members arrive, etc!

    Likely best way is to live a good life, spend everything & die poor!
    No extra fees to pay in a nursing home (the Government pays) & receive the Pension.
    No wonder the elderly love their cruises🚢

    If you like, you can donate your assets to charity, who may help draw up the Will.

    My own Will directs my money to a philanthropic trust for community benefit. That is a more complex Will requiring specialist knowledge & a lot of research.
    Family - be buggered!

    Discussing with a university to donate my body for dissection by med students. Avoids funeral costs. But not possible if I die away far from the uni.

    For a lighter look at death - highly recommend The Casketeers on SBS & streaming services.

  • Would it best to make a will and a video reading the will and store them alongside one another? Is there some sort of dead man trigger to send out a will and video upon death? Like a monthly email check in and if you don't check-in they send a link for will access to the named people in the will with a death certificate upload form?

    • +3

      Maybe learn about Wills!
      You need to get advice.

      The only person who needs the written & witnessed Will is - the Executor(s) you appointed.
      You provide them with certified copies & access to the original Will.

      Video reading of Will - lol!
      This isn't the USA.
      Wills aren't read, like in movies. Movies do that to explain the plot, to make a dull process more interesting!

      Wills are like a boring "to-do list" - just a set of instructions for the Executor(s).

      death certificate upload form? - lol
      The Death Certificate is mailed out after the funeral, usually arranged by the undertaker - may vary by State.
      So there's rarely a rush with the Will! Nothing can be done without a Death Certificate, although another document may be used issued by the Hospital.

      Another document is usually helpful - "instructions on my death". A simple request for type of funeral etc, who to contact, flowers, etc. Usually left with Will & copy yo family & Executor(s) who will probably arrange funeral.

      Videos & emails won't be accepted as legal documents.

      • +2

        Over a year after a family member died, as Executor I haven't finalised the Will. Unless there is a pressing need, it's not necessary to rush.

        I'm a beneficiary of the Will, which might normally speed up the distribution of assets… it could have been completed in weeks. Only an old car of little value has been disposed of, as it was running out of registration.

        I'm under no obligation to rush it, unless directed in the Will. There have been no complaints, as I have explained the tax benefits of my approach. Might take a few years!

        The assets have been invested or rented. The ATO issued a Tax File Number for the estate, so any income (up to threshold) is not taxed as it normally would be.
        Any real estate is necessary the last to be settled in a Will as the original Will is kept by the Titles Office (in Qld).

        Distributed of assets can have an effect on beneficiaries - pensions & other benefits may be reduced or lost, there can be tax implications,… Lots to be considered regarding timing.

        • -1

          I don't get what are funny about those ideas. In theory they would reduce the cost of the process and not rely on either telling people where the will is pre death, showing people the will or having to set up an executor prior. The fact people employ lawyers to do this stuff goes to show that "learn about wills" isn't that simple, if so people wouldnt be paying lawyers unless contests are made and videp proof of will would be better than written alone. A dead man triggered service could be very cheap to email out the location of the will or send the original. A video proves legitimacy beyond having to prove someone's handwriting. I lol at the idea that the will would cost alot of money to execute or store.

          • +1

            @Flop: As I said - learn about the legal process involved with Wills. Plenty online.

            With legal issues, always be informed, know what your intentions & desired outcomes are, and be clear & concise. It's boring but it works & saves money!

            Imagining what you are discussing is a waste of time. Generally, if it's not accepted by the courts here at this time, it will cost a lot to have it accepted. Hope you are wealthy!
            So you will need specialised legal advice to do what you are thinking. Add that to the legal bill!

            Wills are very clear but generally boring documents.

            In theory they would reduce the cost of the process and not rely on either telling people where the will is pre death, showing people the will or having to set up an executor prior.

            Oh dear! None of that is a good idea or will reduce the cost!

            The whole idea of a Will is a legal document directing what happens to your assets & who you want to carry out the task.
            A "Will" without Executors is useless!

            You can't appoint Executors after death!
            Executors can be set up by the court after death - that's expensive!

            A dead man triggered service could be very cheap to email out the location of the will or send the original.
            Are you so cut off from people to require this?
            Only an original Will can be used! Emailed or copies are useless. And if it's lost by your overly complex process…

            You need to have an understanding with the appointed Executor(s) mentioned in the Will, who you hopefully are in regular contact with. Otherwise, choose new Executors.

            A video proves legitimacy beyond having to prove someone's handwriting.
            Video as proof of a witnessed legal document… Tell him he's dreaming!
            That's why it requires 2 witnesses to sign with their details.

            A court would have to determine the authenticity of any document challenged as a forgery / fraud. Videos can also be doctored, so would have less legitimacy. Authenticating a video would be costly. The bill is mounting with your cost saving ideas!

            You seem to think Wills are contested because they are forged. I doubt that would be a common issue.
            Main issues are likely to include how the assets are distributed, why was I left out or got less, I was promised that but she got it, children born or new spouse since the Will was written, was the person of sound mind (giving it all to a dog's home or mistress), why the Doctor (caring for the person before death) is the new beneficiary, and is this the most recent Will, etc.

            A Will requires very clear instructions. Unfortunately your writing is unclear & very hard to follow. Any Will without clear instructions would likely need the court to decide what you intended! Have fun!

            Not a lawyer / solicitor - so get good advice - you seem to need it!

            • @Rather be Travelling: And what exactly is the proof of being sound of mind? Its common practice in courts to use video recordings of suspects as evidence of intentions and mentality.

              • +1

                @Flop: While alive, that could be determined by a medical professional trained in the area.
                That's not that easy to definitively prove.
                And different experts may have very different opinions!

                After death it would be hard to determine the state of the person - possibly many years earlier when the Will was written.

                Usually argued by people left out of distribution of assets! Hard to prove, but usually inferred by "strange" decisions that "prove" they could not be of sound mind (leaving $1M to the cat), rather than their already wealthy family.

                Court use of video recordings is done under controlled conditions, witnessed & confirmed by professionals recognised by the court, where the video might be support their case.
                Home videos legally don't count & would be challenged.

                proof of being sound of mind?

                A good question that I wondered about when working at a major Hospital. I was let into lock up "mental" wards to check patient paperwork & ensure staff were making correct records. I was a Uni student. The inmates looked very much the same as me. Only my photo ID I wore separated us.
                Who was the real "mental patient"?
                Would they know to let the right one out??

              • +2

                @Flop: Proving competency while they are alive in front of a Dr is hard enough!!

                I have challenged a hospital Dr who declared a relative incapable of making decisions due to cognitive impairment. That would mean any decision (like writing a will) from that point on would be invalid.

                I was his 24/7 live in carer & had Enduring Power of Attorney for Health & Financial decisions that I could make for him, guided by him when possible.

                In that case the Dr had asked him if he wanted to go into care. When I was told he had made that decision, I challenged the Dr. It was clearly against his decision he had communicated to him. (I later took audio & video recordings, to support that. Handy to apply leverage to the Hospital, but of little legal use.) She said she asked him, that he could understand & said "Yes".

                I pointed to the 2 hearing aids he wore, that he would not install new batteries because he didn't want to be bothered by people, so said "Yes" so they would leave him alone!

                A bedside meeting was arranged by the Hospital Social Worker. I installed new batteries, asked him 'open' questions requiring more than the Dr's yes/no responses. I asked him if he'd like to go to his home & I would care for him, or if he'd like to go to a good nursing home & they would look after him. He enthusiastically responded "Oh, go home of its OK with you!".

                The Dr was not happy, stormed off, returning with a signed, hand written & undated note from the Registrar. It stated he was no longer competent to make decisions.

                The Dr considered him competent when she thought he agreed with her, but incompetent when he didn't…

                I asked for an explanation from the Hospital of this unprofessional conduct… They never responded!

                Fortunately he was released to go home, in my care - that time.

                With his GP, we tried to have his competence examined by a specialist. But as soon as his Hospital consultant Dr was mentioned, none were willing to examine him!! His GP's clinic manager hinted she was told that it was very unwise to challenge that Dr's opinion!!

                As I would not give up power over my relative to the Dr, she wrongly accused me of negligence in managing his money - ie stealing from him, so I should be stripped of my Enduring Power of Attorney authority. All based on that note of incompetence!

                After a 16 month long Government investigation of his finances, I was cleared of any wrongdoing. It concluded I was subsidising him & loaned him a large amout of money (interest free) to help him enter care.

                But the legal investigation by an ex police officer, started because the Dr claimed my relative was incapable of making decisions. I challenged that, but the undated note (she likely bullied the junior Registrar into signing) was accepted as enough evidence that was the case to proceed with a long nightmare of the investigation & threats of penalties for not complying.

          • +1

            @Flop: What is in the Will that needs that level of secrecy??

            You are a secret Ozbargain millionaire with mansions & Maserati to leave behind?
            Or you just want people to guess who gets your Eneloop collection?

            My extended family kept all important documents including Wills, photos etc in a box near their front door. In case of emergency, the files could be saved & every one knew where they were.

            We all knew within our own family who got what. There were no surprises or challenges. Only between the extended family groups did Wills cause a dispute.

            I was the only one trusted with the information in all the Wills. As the youngest in the families, they needed me to administer the family estates as they got old!

    • Is there some sort of dead man trigger to send out a will and video upon death?

      This is what I have been doing for years - no video, but contains a lot of info - including info to make the executors' job easier.

      Basically, embedded in a checking program which has to be run manually every few days for work purpose, is the code to ‘touch’ a file and update its mtime. A corresponding cron job will check this file, and if it is not updated for a period (like 30 days), it will then send reminders to me for 7 consecutive days, that it is about to do its job. After this period, if nothing is done, it will send out emails to a list of people. This is on an external co-located server to ensure it is running all the time.

      The thing that concerns me most is if something goes wrong, and it sends out the emails prematurely. Given that they contain sensitive info which I do not wish the list of people to get hold of unless I am deceased 😊.

      Therefore, the server needs to be secure and has a reliable ntpd/OS running.

      Edit: I misunderstood your question. There is no offered service that I am aware of, although one can certainly implement their own.

  • My parents' current wills were drawn up by the NSW Trustees and names them as executors too. My Mum did this because her previous, much older will was held by a solicitor who she was later unable to contact. I have 2 siblings.

    I'm a bit alarmed by the mentions above about the Public Trustee as executor, and especially the NSW Public Trustee.

    So in this case, is it a case that, if 1 parent dies and the remaining parent inherits everything, the PT executes that parent's will, transfers everything over to the other parent, and takes there 4% or whatever, and later if the remaining parent dies, the PT executes their will, transfers everything to the children, and takes another x% again?

    Is it usual to have a single executor or multiple ones (eg, all children)?

    Is it onerous to be an executor, especially if one is grieving?

    • +2

      General advice… from personal experience as an Executor. Others experiences & opinions may differ.

      Rule #1: Solicitors (including PT) always charge.

      Another family member on same Will - would assume that is a new service, so charged again.

      Advice I was given is in managing a family estate, the PT will throw almost everything in a skip. It's the most time & cost effective way of dealing with personal property of emotional but little financial value. And charge for it.
      That's why I have managed that process for family since I was young.

      If grieving, best to wait & make better choices. Generally the Will can wait. There are many things to do after a death. And lots of paperwork!! At the initial stage, the Will gives you authority to act for the deceased - deal with banks, pay bills, etc.

      If the Will is drawn up by a solicitor, you can keep the Will. I have looked after Wills for the family.

      Many people store the Will (usually free) with the solicitor. But there will be a fee just to retrieve it!
      You've found out what happens if the solicitor can't be found years later! Makes things complex. Always keep multiple certified copies of the Will - just in case!

      That's a reason for using your State Public Trustee. PT may not require that they are appointed as (paid) Executors. Check first!

      Being a Sole Executor (I am a current one for a deceased family member) can be no big problem - if the Will is simple. And there are few assets & no disputes in family!

      More than 1 can be Executor - as appointed in the Will. But can be more complex if disputes arise.

      You can ask for help. It's up to you as Executor. You can be reimbursed for reasonably costs.

      It involves distributing assets as directed by the Will. Distribution can happen over time, as I am doing, if there is no urgent need for funds.

      The Executor may need to sell assets to be able to distribute funds. I am renting out the family home, which will need to be sold by me. Other funds are invested. I've been managing the family finances for years, so I am used to it.
      Consider the complexity. But for selling property - that's what real estate firms are for.

      I find it is easier to act as Executor if you are not closely involved with the deceased. If you can be dispassionate - It's a far easier task.

      Sorting through finances is far easier than the family heirlooms! (I often cry when I need to do that!) Seek help (maybe from someone outside the family) when sorting out family items - move them out & on to charities quickly is a solution.

      More personal items are more difficult to deal with & can cause conflicts. There are still boxes of family records sitting here to be sorted!

      Not a lawyer / solicitor - so get good advice.

      • Thank you very much for the informative reply.

        Advice I was given is in managing a family estate, the PT will throw almost everything in a skip. It's the most time & cost effective way of dealing with personal property of emotional but little financial value. And charge for it.

        Do you mean this literally? As in, say the remaining parent died, the children would not be able to enter the house and the executor would take control of it until they executed the will, and if the contents of the house weren't specified in the will they get thrown out and then the house sold?

        I find it is easier to act as Executor if you are not closely involved with the deceased.

        I can very easily believe this.

        • +1

          Answered out of sequence - see below

          A family home won't just hold items only relevant to the deceased. It is likely a repository of the children's items & memories!

          The Will could contain an instruction that all items not specifically mentioned in it should be handed over to the family for their benefit.

          That way the Executors secure items for sale / distributing according to the Will. Then family can take what they want (on an arranged day), the rest goes in the skip or directed to charity etc.

          Best to think ahead, as it's too late after the fact. Another reason why people challenge Wills.

          But people are hesitant to talk about death. So Wills & their preparation are not usually discussed. And people do try to direct the process for their benefit!!

          I've had almost a life of dealing with death & the dying, as the person handling this in the extended family.

          I was recognised early for my impartiality, diplomacy & surprisingly my lack of greed (giving money away & setting up a social enterprise giving opportunities to people doing it hard)😉

          I've helped people through dying since I was 18. Took a child's clothes to the morgue long before that, seeing corpses…
          But the hardest was seeing a corpse in a river in Myanmar, shot by military - the locals couldn't "see" it or that would happen to them!

          Death & legal matters are so much fun😩

          • @Rather be Travelling: Thanks for sharing some of your experiences. Gain quite a bit of insight from them.
            Thinking about death is hard - and complicated family dynamics make things even harder.

            • +1

              @bluesky: Thanks.
              Most of us in this culture have little contact with death.
              We don't handle uncertainty well. We want to be seen as in control of our lives.

              I've held the hand of family as they took their final breath, soothing their passage & calmly listened to strangers who were facing death.

              Even I am sometimes surprised by what I say & do - the right thing at the right time in the right way. Its become so very natural to me now.

              Jay, a Japanese man I met in Kyoto opened up to me, sharing his fears for the first time - terminal cancer. We had taken a day, before he was comfortable being so honest.
              He was so pleased at the unexpected relief from his worries, he considered me to be like "Buddha".
              I was simply honoured that I could listen to stories about his life. It was just 1 wonderful, intense day that I will never forget. A month later he was gone.

              It's a common need on my travels - people unburden what can't be said to family, but can be said to someone from outside their culture.

              Unfortunately the bureaucracy involved with death can be daunting.

  • +2

    The use of a skip as the easiest way to deal with the property was advice from an advocate - someone who had worked in that area - within the PT.

    While alive, I was 24/7 carer for the nearly 100 year old family member, with Enduring Power of Attorney powers to make decisions for him.

    But I was being forced by a Dr at the hospital to give up that power. I had disagreed with the Dr several times that he should go into care. She repeatedly claimed he could not walk, despite walking out of his house to the ambulance a week earlier! I said check with the ambos - she said she didn't need to, because she knew he could not walk. She knew best! Allowing him to walk & take his advice about what he wanted proved I was negligent!!

    So they detained him in a lock up ward in the hospital after a fall at home - claiming it was unsafe to allow him home into my care. It was very nasty! I had ordered the Dr not to do that. The story they made up was the hospital was short of beds, so he needed to be moved, temporarily… I requested as his EPoA to read his medical record, they threatened me! I threatened legal action to release him, they laughed at me! They could afford better lawyers!

    The Dr wrongly imagined I was not a fit carer. If I didn't do as they said, there would be "consequences" - inquiries by 2 Government bodies into my care… In the mean time he would remain locked in hospital.
    I was accused of mismanagement of his finances (stealing from him) - pure fantasy disproven after an inquiry taking 16 months showed the opposite - I was subsidising him! But the Hospital said It was not their problem - family steals from family, so they asked for it to be investigated…

    So I sought advice.
    The family member was due to go into care anyway. Leaving him locked in a private hospital or legally challenging their terrible action - was not financially viable. I folded & eventually found a good facility. But he just wanted to go to his home.

    His pension was due to run out after 2 years (house would be taken into pension asset test as he no longer lived there). That was forcing me to repair & to prepare to rent his house to pay the cost of care. Selling the house was not an option as his increased cash would raise the daily costs in care! Disposing of his precious belongings while alive was too difficult for me, but necessary to empty his home to rent. "Fortunately" he died before his pension ran out.

    But I remained in charge of his matters to the end, rather than being forced to hand over control & pay the PT to do what I could do. The PT would have emptied his house into a skip & rented it asap.

    Now there would be a delay before the PT acted… But the role of the Executor is to secure the assets & distribute them as instructed.

    As sorting through piles of the deceased life is very time consuming & therefore costly to the estate, dumping it is easiest & most cost effective way. Pretty upsetting for the relatives! You could request them to put aside family photos etc for the family to sort through later. But you're not in control!

    It is totally up to them who enters the property. Allowing family to take anything they want would go against the directions of the Will.

    So make sure you delay contacting the PT after death (they may already know) & keep a set of keys! It could get nasty if they knew assets were "stolen" before the PT could take control of the property!

    They can call the Police! But it's hard to recover some allegedly stolen jewellery from a grieving relative, if it is not specifically mentioned in the Will. And family may have loaned the deceased that nice big TV etc, so were just securing their own property!!

    I've watched as family members took what they wanted from one deceased relative's property. My own parents were plundering! My Father (he was an Executor & JP, so knew better) threw out an old violin - he hated his sister & her violin. I recovered it from the bin, & later sold for almost $1000.
    In that case the house contents were commercially valued, I put in a higher offer to the Executors, which was approved. So the family was actually stealing from me!

    Talk to the PT about what would happen. They may not want to discuss the details, as they want the business. But you have a right to know.

    • Thank you very much, this has been eye opening. I will have to learn more about this.

      • Best forewarned!
        Was unfortunately too eye opening & jaw dropping for me. Being forced into doing what was not in the best interests of a family member goes against everything I believe in. I lost a lot of sleep over it.

        Added a few ideas above.

      • +1

        Your question has made me think about this!

        Using a skip to quickly dispose of memories of a loved one is not unusual.

        I've watched other families pitch in to quickly throw almost everything out. It can solve disputes in family over who gets what trinket. And the valuable house could be sold much quicker - for their benefit.

        Storing the items awaiting sale can tempt theft. At an auction of select items up to 100 year old, from my family's country home, I watched people blatantly steal things. The Executor didn't care. Arranging the auction was the end of their responsibility.

        Donating their clothes to charity in a small community risks seeing someone else dressed as the deceased - which can be disturbing!

        Throwing things in skip, avoids accusations of bias or corruption if the PT etc otherwise contacted businesses to take away the deceased belongings - for the financial benefit of the business!

        Paying someone to spend time sorting through items of little value can't be justified in the billing by the PT. It could chew through any money to disperse in some small estates!

        I've known people who make a nice income helping elderly clean out their "rubbish"!

  • …and to my children in equal shares I give the balance of my Youtube Premium 3 month free trial.

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