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Drawing up a Will

By jessieduck - 11 September 2012 17

Hi Rioters,

Has anyone got any recommendations for a legal firm on the Northside that can assist me in drawing up a will? Before you all say “Will Kits”, it’s slightly more complex in this instance and I do need to engage a lawyer. The only law firm I’ve used is for conveyancing and that wasn’t 100% great so that’s why I am turning to the hive mind for advice.

I’m after someone who will do the job quickly and professionally and not charge through the nose. Anyone to avoid?

Thanks

What’s Your opinion?


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17 Responses to
Drawing up a Will
jessieduck 9:46 pm 12 Sep 12

Kurrajong said :

On the Public Trustee charges, I confirmed with them that they would charge 4% to transfer the title of a family property to our child.

That amounted to $26,0000 !!! .

Jeepers that’s a ton of moolah. On second thoughts it might be best to just go to a normal lawyer.

Thanks everyone for the info. At 32 it’s not something I thought was necessary but we’ve learnt the hard way that as soon as you have kids and assets you really need to get a will.

Kurrajong 11:45 am 12 Sep 12

On the Public Trustee charges, I confirmed with them that they would charge 4% to transfer the title of a family property to our child.

That amounted to $26,0000 !!! to do what a family executor or solicitor could do at the Land Titles office for something like a couple of hundred dollars.

It convinced me that it was better to go with a family executor who was willing to do the job and a solicitor as fallback.

Nightshade 10:29 pm 11 Sep 12

RedDogInCan said :

The Public Trustee charges a fee to write up your will and a % fee only if they are the executors of the estate, which is not mandatory. My will was written up by the Public Trustee and only nominates them as the executor of last resort – that is only if my other nominations refuse to do it.

At least the Public Trustee specifies a fixed fee up front. As the executor of two estates my experience is that wills and estates bring out the worst gouging in lawyers. The more complex it is, the more reasons they find to charge you. We even had one lawyer tell us not to worry about the legal fees as ‘it is paid from the estate’.

The Public Trustee website currently says “The Public Trustee can prepare your Will only where nominated as the Executor to administer your estate.” Is that a change since you had yours done?

I’m rather put off by the fees quoted:
• assets up to $200,000 4.40%
• next $200,000 (ie $200,000-$400,000) 3.30%
• next $200,000 (ie $400,000-$600,000) 2.20%
• greater than $600,000 1.10%

Given the price of houses these days and the amount of money needed to fund retirement, these %s would quickly add up to a lot (if you haven’t lived to spend it all). Is this really the standard rate?

RedDogInCan, as someone who’s been an executor and knows the work involved, do you think these fees are reasonable? Is it so much work that family members would rather not be asked to be the executor, and have the estate pay this much to lawyers instead? I’d really like to know.

troll-sniffer 6:03 pm 11 Sep 12

shirty_bear said :

We used Colquhoun Murphy in Braddon … no hassles, no complaints.

+1 for these guys, hassle free conveyancing for me last time.

Innovation 6:03 pm 11 Sep 12

MelonHead said :

Read the fine print if you decide to use the Public Trustee. In my case, they offered “free will” to my mother with the proviso that they be named executors. An offer too good to be true. Had the family known, we would have paid almost any solicitor any reasonable fee.

When came time to execute this will, the Public Trustee were as uncaring as you could possibly be. As well as quite rude and difficult to deal with.

They had the last laugh. Their fee was 4%. Of the GROSS VALUE OF ALL ASSETS. Not net value. Not some reasonable fee.

After the estate was finalised, the family calculated we had paid about 2.5 to 3 times the cost of any competent solicitor’s execution of a similar estate. This estimate was based on a spate of deaths in the family at the time.

These event happened more than 10 years ago, but a quick look at the Public Trustee web site seems to indicate that not much has changed.

Get reputable and competent solicitor. Pay them for their time and expertise. Enjoy the knowledge that the job is done right.

You could always take a copy, make your own and nominate your own Executor(s). Or sign the one they offer and make a new one the next day “This is my last will and testament”. But the Public Trustee has always worked well in my experience. And RedDogInCan 2 #5 these things bring out the worst in (potential) beneficiaries as well as laywers…..so lock it in as best you can but don’t put it off…..

mmillercfp 5:01 pm 11 Sep 12

Rebecca Tetlow at the newly merged Bradley Allen Love (6274 0999 or http://www.bradleyallen.com.au) and Paul Salinas at Certus Law (6268 9090 or http://www.certuslaw.com.au) have both looked after clients of mine very well and I am happy to recommend.

Both participate in regular estate planning seminars so are very current in the field.

shirty_bear 3:22 pm 11 Sep 12

We used Colquhoun Murphy in Braddon … no hassles, no complaints.

colourful sydney rac 1:56 pm 11 Sep 12

MelonHead said :

Read the fine print if you decide to use the Public Trustee. In my case, they offered “free will” to my mother with the proviso that they be named executors. An offer too good to be true. Had the family known, we would have paid almost any solicitor any reasonable fee.

When came time to execute this will, the Public Trustee were as uncaring as you could possibly be. As well as quite rude and difficult to deal with.

They had the last laugh. Their fee was 4%. Of the GROSS VALUE OF ALL ASSETS. Not net value. Not some reasonable fee.

After the estate was finalised, the family calculated we had paid about 2.5 to 3 times the cost of any competent solicitor’s execution of a similar estate. This estimate was based on a spate of deaths in the family at the time.

These event happened more than 10 years ago, but a quick look at the Public Trustee web site seems to indicate that not much has changed.

Get reputable and competent solicitor. Pay them for their time and expertise. Enjoy the knowledge that the job is done right.

the fees outlined on their website are pretty standard for an executor, if anything they are a bit lower than most.

MelonHead 1:41 pm 11 Sep 12

Read the fine print if you decide to use the Public Trustee. In my case, they offered “free will” to my mother with the proviso that they be named executors. An offer too good to be true. Had the family known, we would have paid almost any solicitor any reasonable fee.

When came time to execute this will, the Public Trustee were as uncaring as you could possibly be. As well as quite rude and difficult to deal with.

They had the last laugh. Their fee was 4%. Of the GROSS VALUE OF ALL ASSETS. Not net value. Not some reasonable fee.

After the estate was finalised, the family calculated we had paid about 2.5 to 3 times the cost of any competent solicitor’s execution of a similar estate. This estimate was based on a spate of deaths in the family at the time.

These event happened more than 10 years ago, but a quick look at the Public Trustee web site seems to indicate that not much has changed.

Get reputable and competent solicitor. Pay them for their time and expertise. Enjoy the knowledge that the job is done right.

jessieduck 1:03 pm 11 Sep 12

Thanks guys. Our own estate won’t be overly complicated, it’s just that we also need to have a lawyer witness some other documentation so I think the Public Trustees might be perfect. Just outside the scope of Will Kit territory,

Hey, here’s something you might not know. If you want to donate your body to science, you can’t unless it is in writing. It’s not the same as donating organs (ie, you’ve indicated your consent and then the family OKs it) Unfortunately we just learned this the hard way and had to go through a crappy cremation experience instead of being able to do what the deceased had wished for. Fun times.

RedDogInCan 11:35 am 11 Sep 12

mezza76 said :

Please be aware that public trustees also charge a % fee based on the nature of your will and estate when it is executed. That’s always been a turnoff for me – although the fees in itself wouldn’t be huge – I’d just rather pay upfront. More info can be found here:
http://www.publictrustee.act.gov.au/wills

The Public Trustee charges a fee to write up your will and a % fee only if they are the executors of the estate, which is not mandatory. My will was written up by the Public Trustee and only nominates them as the executor of last resort – that is only if my other nominations refuse to do it.

At least the Public Trustee specifies a fixed fee up front. As the executor of two estates my experience is that wills and estates bring out the worst gouging in lawyers. The more complex it is, the more reasons they find to charge you. We even had one lawyer tell us not to worry about the legal fees as ‘it is paid from the estate’.

dtc 11:21 am 11 Sep 12

Ross Watch at Tetlow Tigwell Watch lectured on wills and stuff at the ANU/legal workshop for years and on law society committees etc, so might be worth a go.

As Kurrajong said, dont get too complicated. Firstly, its only relevant after you are dead so don’t try to control your money too much – you don’t care by that stage. Secondly, the more complicated the more costly (both now and in the future). Drawing up a simple will will take a few hours, if you start having trusts and complicated requirements you are looking at 10hrs+ (at $400 per hour).

mezza76 11:15 am 11 Sep 12

We are going through the same process ourselves and are looking at a lawyer rather than a public trustee.

Please be aware that public trustees also charge a % fee based on the nature of your will and estate when it is executed. That’s always been a turnoff for me – although the fees in itself wouldn’t be huge – I’d just rather pay upfront. More info can be found here:
http://www.publictrustee.act.gov.au/wills

We’ll probably give Slater & Gordon Online Will a go and see how that works out given our estate will be quite simple. I think the fee is about $150.
https://online.slatergordon.com.au/sgo/

afl4act 10:13 am 11 Sep 12

Very happy with Public Trustee experience. – probably depends on how complex your needs are, but it would be worth calling them anyway.

Kurrajong 9:52 am 11 Sep 12

I have used Dibbs Barker in Canberra House for many years.

If children are involved, I would seriously look at your will creating a Testamentary Trust rather than a simple distribution of your estate. It costs more to set up but it leaves them with many advantages and protection of assets.

Don’t make the will too complex and have a good hard think about what you need before you go to the lawyer, or you will end up paying for their time to unpack it from your head.

Alternatively, look at the Public Trustee in London Circuit. Their website lists the fees which are a few hundred dollars.

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