Brianna Freebairn is an associate of Freebairn & Hehir with extensive experience in handling private client matters.
How to put a will in place and why you really should.
A significant number of New Zealanders do not have a will. Contrary to popular belief, the absence of a will does not mean that your estate goes to the government. However, it does place unnecessary strain, stress, and expense on those you leave behind. Similarly, out-of-date or inadequate wills can lead to unforeseen complications.
The DIY option
A quick online search reveals a large list of DIY will services. You might save some money using these. As solicitors often called in to help administer such wills, we have some reservations about these. Self-made wills are more open to issues that may lead to rejection by the court when applying for probate.
Additional work to validate the will may be needed, and minor oversights can create significant problems later on.
You would be surprised at the things that can cause trouble.
Something as innocent as a paperclip mark on one of the pages can prompt the court to demand evidence about what was or wasn’t attached to the document. Addressing these demands incurs more costs and further delays an already lengthy probate process. Having a lawyer assist you with preparing your will ensures that all legal formalities are carefully followed.
Engaging a solicitor doesn’t have to be painful
We’ve established a painless process for preparing wills for our clients in Palmerston North and the Manawatu. For standard wills, we conduct a phone interview to gather all necessary details and take your instructions, schedule a time for your office visit, send you a draft for your review, and invite you in to formally execute the will.
Our goal is to have these wills completed promptly. One common issue with wills is that the process can drag on. Once we receive instructions, we strive to have the work completed within a fortnight.
It’s not a small cost, so transparency is important
We’re firm believers in transparent pricing and no hidden fees. Our current will preparation service costs $575 for an individual and $805 for a couple. These fees include all GST, costs, and disbursements. When getting estimates, it is important to check that the price you’ve been given includes all these charges.
There are situations when a simple will may not be suitable. For instance, if you have a trust or a blended family with specific considerations, a more detailed estate plan may be necessary. In such cases, you’ll need to budget more. Your lawyer should let you know this up-front.
Bad will? We can still help you out
Cheap wills can become expensive very quickly if their preparation was not thorough enough which is why we insist on working closely with our clients to ensure a comprehensive job. However, if a family member has passed away and left a deficient will, we are more than ready to help.