If you’re reading this, chances are you’re thinking about making a will. Your will is one of the most important documents you will make in your lifetime, and so too is the decision of which lawyer you engage to assist you.
Your will is a legal document appointing the right people to take care of your affairs and assets, the distribution of your estate and the guardianship of your minor children after you die. Given how incredibly personal and delicate these matters are, it’s absolutely essential that you get the details right.
A poorly thought-out will or a homemade will kit can make your will easier to challenge, leading to estate litigation. This can cost your estate significant amounts of money, take years to resolve and place strain on your family and loved ones.
What makes a great wills and estates lawyer?
Everyone over 18 years of age should have a will. It is more common, however, to put a will in place the first time after a major life event occurs, such as buying a house, getting married, the birth of a child or following the death of a loved one.
Before you create your will, it can be helpful to consider the following:
- Tailored and specialised legal advice. Don’t settle for a law firm that “also does wills”. Although many lawyers offer wills, it’s important to know that wills and estate planning is a complex and specialist area of law. Your best bet is to choose a lawyer or law firm who focuses on and specialises in wills and estates. They will offer the best value for money and provide a service that is tailored to your needs.
- Experience and qualifications. A lawyer or law firm specialising in wills and estates has the experience and expertise to approach to your affairs holistically, rather than just drafting your will. At a minimum they should consider the structure of your assets, your family, any businesses you are a part of and the care and guardianship of your children after your death.
- A variety of available services. In addition to a will, your estate plan may require an enduring power of attorney, binding death benefit nomination or other estate planning document. It may not be as easy as you anticipate, but firms and lawyers specialising in wills and estate planning will know exactly what to do.
- Sensitivity. Estate planning can involve complex family dynamics and emotional considerations, so you may want a lawyer who not only knows the law, but has a high degree of emotional intelligence. Look for a lawyer who will listen to your story, assess any risks to your estate planning, and provide advice tailored to your circumstances.
The best wills and estates lawyers in Canberra
RiotACT’s editorial team has combed through 20 years of on-site comments to compile a list of the most recommended businesses according to you.
To be listed in our Best of Canberra series, each business needs to have consistently received positive feedback on RiotACT and maintain a minimum average of 4/5 stars on both Google and Facebook reviews.
The firm’s dynamic team of lawyers, with a breadth of experience and diverse backgrounds, has helped thousands of clients to protect their assets and loved ones with wills and estate planning. Services include estate disputes, probate and deceased estate administration, enduring power of attorney arrangements, testamentary trust arrangements and Elder law.
DDCS knows what matters most and provides experienced, client centred and committed legal services focused on ensuring the best outcomes for clients. Their lawyers are some of Canberra’s best and DDCS prides itself on being highly respected by clients and other professionals.
As satisfied client Anne Thompson wrote on Google, “We received good advice, kindness, direction and understanding in our estate issue. The legal guidance received throughout has been appreciated and enabled us to reach an amicable conclusion.”
Situated in the heart of Canberra, Bradley Allen Love (BAL) Lawyers boasts a stellar reputation and impressive track record for achieving positive client outcomes.
Recognised by Doyles Guide as a top-tier wills and estates law firm, its talented team of lawyers puts client needs first, recognising how important it is to approach wills and estate planning with a compassionate yet professional attitude.
With a wealth of experience and deep understanding of all areas of estates law, BAL Lawyers takes a holistic approach to estate planning. It takes the time to consider your individual personal, family and financial circumstances to ensure clients’ wishes are understood and carried out. Its team also provides personalised advice about non-standard or complex legal issues in estates and guardianship matters.
As Google reviewer Gabrielle Meyer writes in their review, “I engaged BAL to manage my Mother’s estate. I appreciated the clear advice, prompt action and follow up along with timely and helpful communications. I intend to use the firm for future legal matters.”
Snedden Hall & Gallop’s Wills and Estates team know how important it is that every adult has a will so their estate is left to the people they care about – your property should be shared in the way you want it shared. They have seen too many families having to deal with the complications and unnecessary expense for those left behind when a loved one dies without a will or with a poorly prepared will.
The Wills and Estates team, led by Julia Bridgewater, can help you with everything to do with wills and estate planning, including testamentary trusts, estate disputes, family provision claims, and probate and estate administration. They understand that families are complicated, and they can help ensure that your wishes are reflected in your will and other estate planning documents.
As Alayna Sixsmith writes in their Google review, “We have been using Snedden, Hall & Gallop Lawyers for some years now, they have looked after us with our Wills and Commercial/business needs… [and] have been nothing but professional, friendly, helpful and looked after our best interests… Given the experience we have had over the years dealing with different lawyers for different matters I would happily recommend them to anybody and everybody.”
Meyer Vandenberg Lawyers delivers expert legal advice, guidance, and representation right here in Canberra. With a team of multi-disciplinary professionals, you can expect a hassle-free will service tailored to your specific needs. Meyer Vandenberg recognises the particular delicacy when it comes to handling wills and estates, and always puts its clients’ best interest as the number one priority – you can be confident your assets are protected and distributed to beneficiaries as you intend upon your death.
The team’s stellar qualifications speak for themselves – four of Meyer Vandenberg’s expert lawyers have recently been recognised amongst the best in the country, named in The Best Lawyers in Australia 2021 List. Rest assured that not only are you in extremely capable and professional hands at Meyer Vandenberg, but that you are also receiving the best service in the country.
As Terri Stiller writes in their Google review, “I went to Meyer Vandenberg to have my Will and EPOA drawn up. The service I received was outstanding, even through COVID 19 lock down period. They kept in touch, progressed my documents and gave me safe and secure options to submit my documents back to them. I found all the staff I had contact with to be friendly, professional and very helpful.”
Drafting wills can be a confronting process, requiring careful consideration and attention. Baker Deane & Nutt Lawyers (BDN) can tailor wills to suit your unique needs – from property to business ownership and investment.
BDN has serviced the legal needs of those in the Canberra & Queanbeyan region for over 150 years. It ensures client affairs are secured in preparation for the future.
If you’re looking to create a will that benefits and protects the interests of all parties involved, Baker Deane & Nutt could be the firm for you.
As Facebook user Chris Griffin writes in their review, “Had great assistance with a lawyer coming out to a house bound family member to complete everything required, great personal service and highly recommend to anyone.”
If you are facing an estate dispute and want to resolve it outside of the courts, check out our list of the top mediation and conflict resolution services in Canberra.
Your experience with wills and estates lawyers in Canberra
Thanks to our commenters who have provided insightful feedback. If you believe we have got it wrong, please let us know.
Have you had experience with any of the law firms listed above? If so, share your feedback in the comments below.