Anyone can draft (write) a will. Inexpensive do-it-yourself kits are available from some stationers, newsagents and post offices.
Remember that a will must follow certain rules. If a will is incorrectly drafted, it is very difficult to prove the deceased person’s intentions in court, and disputes involving lawyers can be very expensive. Also, a badly drafted will may be deemed invalid. If this happens, your estate will be distributed as though you had died intestate.
It is advisable to get help from a solicitor, the State Trustees or another trustee company when drawing a will, particularly if complex issues are involved.
Always keep your will in a safe place, such as in a bank, with a solicitor or in a private safe. The Probate Office stores wills for a fee of $16.80, plus another fee of $28.30 to uplift (collect) it.
How do I find a solicitor to draft my will?
The Law Institute of Victoria Referral Service (9607 9550) can refer you to three solicitors in your area. You will be given a referral letter that entitles you to a free half-hour consultation to discuss any aspect of planning your will. Ring each solicitor, and check their fees before making a decision about which one to use.
The State Trustees are specialists in drafting wills and administering estates. Their fees vary depending on whether or not you appoint them as your executor. If you appoint them as your executor, a standard will costs about $135. If you don’t, it costs about $180. They offer reduced fees for pensioners and health care cardholders. They will also come to your home for an additional fee.
Next Section: What are the legal formalities?