If you’re reading this, chances are you’re thinking about making a will.
Great! You’ve taken the first step. 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, the distribution of your estate and the guardianship of your minor children after you die. So it’s 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 to consider when creating a will in Canberra
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:
- Get 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.
- Aim for a top tier law firm. 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 you children after your death.
- Be aware that you might need more than a will. 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.
- Look for a firm with a sensitive approach. 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.
- What if my family is complex or fractured? Not all families look the same and that’s okay. A skilled estate planning lawyer can provide advice and tailor a solution that achieves your objectives while minimising the risk of family disharmony and disputes, as well as costly litigation. For example you may wish to consider tenancy in common as opposed to joint tenancy as a form of joint asset ownership. 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 service providers in Canberra.
- I have a business, company, or trust. Can my lawyer deal with those in my will? If your financial situation is complex or involves external structures, it’s even more important to deal with an estate planning expert. Consider engaging an estate planning lawyer with specific business succession expertise. Your estate plan might need to include a plan for your business succession. An estate planning lawyer with expertise in business succession will be able to ensure that those structures pass effectively to the next generation.
The best places to get your will drawn up in Canberra – according to you
RiotACT’s editorial team has combed through 19 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.
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.
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.
There’s no such thing as a cookie-cutter approach at DDCS Lawyers. Its team understands that estate planning involves taking a holistic approach to you and your circumstances to give effect to your wishes. DDCS will work closely with you to listen to your objectives and concerns, understand your family and financial circumstances, and provide you with expert advice about the issues that are important to you. Once they’ve helped you work out an estate planning strategy, they will then ensure your wishes are captured in a legally binding will that reflects your wishes.
DDCS has a particular expertise in understanding the unique issues for blended families and families with disabled or vulnerable beneficiaries and will provide sensitive and pragmatic advice. As many people’s financial affairs become more complex, DDCS regularly assists business owners and can provide expert advice on superannuation death benefits, the tax implications of an estate plan and testamentary trusts.
DDCS has a team of dedicated lawyers who specialise in wills and estate planning. Rebecca Tetlow, partner in the Wills & Estates team, is Canberra’s only accredited specialist in Wills & Estate Law. DDCS Lawyers has been consistently ranked as a top tier wills and estate planning firm in the ACT by Doyle’s Guide.
With DDCS, you can be confident that you will receive expert legal advice from a lawyer who has understood your needs and works with you to implement your wishes.
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 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.
Your experience with wills and estate planning 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.