Will kits

DIY will kits are a low-cost option for drafting a simple will. CHOICE put four to the test and found big differences.
 
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02.DIY Will Kits assessed

Do-it-yourself will kits are a low-cost option for drafting a simple will. CHOICE put four to the test and found big differences.

 

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1. Will Form*

Supplier: Quill  Quill
Price: $3.35
Bought at: NSW newsagents
Description: Will form with some examples and basic instructions.

Good points

  • Very affordable.
  • Suggests obtaining expert advice if in doubt.

Bad points

  • Very basic instructions – could confuse rather than clarify.
  • Issues relating to children, taxation, superannuation and executors are not adequately covered. There is no option to select an alternative executor.

Verdict
Most basic of the will kits reviewed.
Simple will: OK – could be an option for a well-informed user who requires an urgent will and only has adult beneficiaries without special needs.
Complex will: Not recommended.

*Quill told CHOICE they no longer supply this product, and that it is only available through newsagents in NSW, Queensland, Tasmania and Victoria. 

2. Prepare-Your-Own Legal Will Pack - couples' will pack

Supplier: Nation Wise Products  Prepare your own
Price: $32.50
Bought at: Australia Post
Description: Comprehensive booklet with two will forms.

Good points

  • Contains a warning to obtain legal advice if your situation is complex or complicated.
  • Covers issues relating to children and briefly addresses superannuation.
  • Contains a warning to obtain legal advice if your situation is complex or complicated.

Bad points

  • Does not explain what would constitute a complex or complicated situation.
  • Taxation is not adequately covered.
  • Some instructions are given about the choice of executors, but the structure of the will form might confuse users about their options.

Verdict
Provides a good amount of information, is very accessible and well structured for a well-informed user.
Simple will: Good. Additional expert advice recommended if you have young children or adult beneficiaries with special needs.
Complex will: Not recommended.

 

3. Australian Will Kit

Supplier: National Call Centre  Australian will kit
Price: $38.08 (inc. postage, credit card fee)
Bought from National Call Centre
Description: Comprehensive booklet with two will forms.

Good points

  • Contains warning to obtain legal advice if your situation is complex or complicated.
  • Covers issues relating to children, taxation, executor and superannuation.

Bad Points

  • Does not explain what would constitute a complex or complicated situation. Deals with complex situations, such as CGT and trusts for children, in an everyday manner without repeating the warning to get legal advice.
  • Contains a statement that the executor cannot be a witness, which can be incorrect as long the executor is not a beneficiary.

Verdict
Provides a good amount of information and additional background material, is very accessible and well-structured for a well-informed user.
Simple will: Good. Additional expert advice recommended if you have young children or adult beneficiaries with special needs.
Complex will: Not recommended.

 

4. How to make your own will in Australia

Supplier: Legal Kits of Victoria  How to make your own will
Price: $36.30 (inc. postage)
Bought at: Legal Kits
Description: Comprehensive booklet with six will forms (three different types).

Good points

  • Covers the issues concerning provisions for children and beneficiaries with special needs.
  • Provides some information regarding superannuation and taxation.
  • Issue of witnesses is correctly explained.
  • Best coverage of the issue of executors of the will kits reviewed.
  • Will forms provide more options than those in the other kits.

Bad points

  • Does not contain a warning to obtain legal advice if your situation is complex or complicated, and seems to discourage the user from seeking expert financial or legal advice.
  • Does not make a distinction between complex and simple wills.

Verdict
Of the four DIY kits, this is the most informative and best overall. Provides a comprehensive amount of information and detailed background material, is very accessible and well structured for a well-informed user.
Simple will: Very good. Additional expert advice recommended if you have young children or adult beneficiaries with special needs.
Complex will: Not recommended.

How we analyse

Our two experts received a copy of the four kits and answered specific questions, including about how they rated the structure of the will kit and statements made on issues regarding children, executor, superannuation and taxation. We summarised the comments and made our own assessment to rate each of the kits for its effectiveness in drafting both a simple and complicated will for a well-informed user who has familiarised themselves with the topic.

Simple will A couple or single person with only a few beneficiaries and harmonious family situation, possibly owning their own home and otherwise straightforward possessions, such as household goods and a few bank accounts.

Complex will This could include blended families, such as children from more than one relationship, and complex financial affairs. The will-maker may have a DIY super fund or complex tax arrangements, such as owning shares and managed funds that would attract capital gains tax; could need or already have a trust; own a business; or may not want to provide for someone who would usually expect to inherit from their estate.

Our experts

Dr John de Groot, BA LLB PhD, Special Counsel, is Chairman of the Queensland Law Society’s Succession Law Committee and of its Advisory Committee on Specialist Accreditation (Succession Law). He is also an adjunct Professor of law T. C. Beirne School of Law at the University of Queensland.

Russell Robertson has been an accredited Wills & Estates Specialist for 16 years, and is a member of the Law Institute of Victoria’s Probate, Wills and Administration Committee. Russell is an instructor at the Leo Cussen Institute and makes presentations organised by the Law Institute of Victoria.

 
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