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The Australian Will Kit

What is a Will Kit? 

What about free Will kits?

Good idea or bad idea?

Let's talk about Will kits. 

Are they any good? Should I buy one? Why are they so cheap? Why are some Wills more expensive? What is the difference between a Will kit and other Wills from a lawyer? How is Will Wizard different?

All of these questions boil down to understanding the following two things: 


1.    A Will kit’s strengths
2.    A Will kit’s weaknesses


Once you understand a Will kits strengths and weaknesses, you will be in an educated position to decide if a Will kit is right for you and your family. 


Let’s start with the basics. 

What is a Will kit?

A 'Will kit' is the name given to all basic Wills that are available for download online or from your local Australia Post store.

 

They are generally inexpensive, ranging in price from $0 to about $200 per person. 


Another way to spot a Will kit is its length, as they are generally only between 2 - 6 pages long. 

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They are ‘Do It Yourself’ (DIY) Wills, where a template is provided. You then print it out and hand write in your information. 


Any Will you pay a solicitor to draft for you is not considered a Will kit.

 

However that is not to say that a Will from ‘every’ solicitor will be much different to some Will kits. I go into this in more detail towards the end of this page

OK so what does a Will kit do well?

What are a Will kit's strengths?

Now I have to tread carefully here, because this would be a one line answer if I was brutally honest about Australian Will kits.  


However, to be fair to Will kits, in 2020 they have some very stiff competition so they are always going to look (how to put this nicely) behind the times.  


It’s like comparing a mid-90s dial up internet connection to today’s fastest broadband connections.

 

Just as the dial up service was revolutionary for its day, the basic 2-6 page Do It Yourself Will's time has most certainly come and gone.


However, that is not to say that a DIY Will kit is completely useless. It does perform a few of the basic functions of a modern Will. 


It’s just that Will kits are missing all of the really important stuff. 

 

We will delve into what's missing when we examine a Will kit’s weaknesses. 


So what basic functions does a Will kit perform? 


They generally state your name, your address and the people you wish to inherit your estate (your beneficiaries).

 

They also usually offer the opportunity to nominate the people you wish to act as the executor of your estate, and in some cases they also offer the opportunity nominate the person you wish to be the guardian of your children. 


Some Will kits also offer the opportunity to list your assets. However this is highly problematic as basic Will kits need to be constantly updated as your assets change over time. 


And that’s about all folks…

 

A Will kit leaves you to your own devices and allows you to hand write in the basic details and nominations of your Will.

 

Namely the people you want to receive your stuff when you die, and the people you wish to act in certain roles like executor and guardian of young children. 


So what’s the big problem I hear you say? Isn’t that all a Will is supposed to do anyway? 


Well if you’ve come this far you owe it to yourself (and your loved ones) to understand the weaknesses of a Will kit. 


Because there are A LOT of weaknesses. 

What are a Will kit's weaknesses?

Now, we would be here all day if tried to make a list of all the weaknesses or a list of all the important things missing from Aussie Will kits in 2019.

 

Instead I will list my:

 

Top 3 Will Kit Weaknesses

At the end you will be provided with links to check out some additional weaknesses that could easily have made my top three list. 

Weakness #1 

No Inheritance Protection

Most Aussies don’t consider themselves ‘wealthy’. 


The good news is that the growing reality for most normal Aussies is that when the value of  their estate is totalled (i.e. house + super + life cover + investments + cash etc) it is usually well over a million dollars, often over two million, or more.  


That is serious money that needs protecting. 


Aussie Will Kits DO NOT provide any protection of inherited wealth. 


Modern Wills like those from Will Wizard® (or those from experienced lawyers that offer testamentary trust protections) offer long term protection of inherited assets from a range of  common circumstances  where inherited assets are lost.

By long term protection we mean 80 YEARS across generations

What common circumstances needing protection am I referring to? 

 

Modern Wills help protect inherited wealth from events such as:

  • Divorce

  • Defacto relationship breakdown

  • Financial problems 

  • Bankruptcy

  • Business failure

  • Owing creditors 

  • Poor choices 

  • A Mental Health Issue

  • A Drug Addiction

 

And the list goes on and on. 

Let's look at divorce or de facto relationship breakdown. 


Given that the average relationship lasts for just over 10 years in Australia, it is  HIGHLY PROBABLE  that you, or your spouse, or one of your children or grandchildren will suffer a divorce after either you or your spouse die. 


Modern Wills providing testamentary trust protections shield inherited assets from Family Court proceedings when formulating a financial settlement.


Will kits do not do this. 


Imagine all of your hard work building up your wealth during your lifetime only for it to be gobbled up by someone outside of your family and their lawyers following a divorce.  

 

Just because you relied on a basic Will kit. 


Let's now look at financial problems like bankruptcy.


Inherited wealth held in a testamentary trust is considered privileged and is protected from common financial problems where an inheritance may be under threat from third party claims. 


Just like relationship breakdown, financial problems are incredibly common which is why modern Wills plan ahead to protect family wealth from being lost when life hits a major financial crisis.

 

Once again, Will kits do not do this. 


For a full list of available inheritance protections available click here. 

Weakness #2

No Tax Benefits

Most Aussies don’t consider themselves ‘wealthy’. 


The good news is that the growing reality for most normal Aussies is that when the value of  their estate is totalled (i.e. house + super + life cover + investments + cash etc) it is usually well over a million dollars, often over two million, or more.  


That is serious money that needs protecting. 


Aussie Will Kits DO NOT provide any protection of inherited wealth. 


Modern Wills like those from Will Wizard® (or those from experienced lawyers that offer testamentary trust protections) offer long term protection of inherited assets from a range of  common circumstances  where inherited assets are lost.

By long term protection we mean 80 YEARS across generations

What common circumstances needing protection am I referring to? 

 

Modern Wills help protect inherited wealth from events such as:

  • Divorce

  • Defacto relationship breakdown

  • Financial problems 

  • Bankruptcy

  • Business failure

  • Owing creditors 

  • Poor choices 

  • A Mental Health Issue

  • A Drug Addiction

 

And the list goes on and on. 

Let's look at divorce or de facto relationship breakdown. 


Given that the average relationship lasts for just over 10 years in Australia, it is  HIGHLY PROBABLE  that you, or your spouse, or one of your children or grandchildren will suffer a divorce after either you or your spouse die. 


Modern Wills providing testamentary trust protections shield inherited assets from Family Court proceedings when formulating a financial settlement.


Will kits do not do this. 


Imagine all of your hard work building up your wealth during your lifetime only for it to be gobbled up by someone outside of your family and their lawyers following a divorce.  

 

Just because you relied on a basic Will kit. 


Let's now look at financial problems like bankruptcy.


Inherited wealth held in a testamentary trust is considered privileged and is protected from common financial problems where an inheritance may be under threat from third party claims. 


Just like relationship breakdown, financial problems are incredibly common which is why modern Wills plan ahead to protect family wealth from being lost when life hits a major financial crisis.

 

Once again, Will kits do not do this. 


For a full list of available inheritance protections available click here. 

Weakness #3

No Guidance

This is a huge problem with Will kits because it leads to huge mistakes and huge losses of inherited wealth.


With Will kits, you are essentially handing yourself the keys to an incredibly complicated million dollar fighter jet without any training and told to go for a joy flight.

 

You are more than likely going to do something that is incredibly risky and you will crash and burn.  Or you will not have considered some future maneuver....and either you or your loved ones will crash and burn in the future. 


When writing a Will, there is over a dozen different family and tax laws as well as different legal regimes that can impact on a your deceased estate, not to mention the infinite number of personal family and financial circumstances that need to be considered. 


This alone gives an insight into why the very best estate planning lawyers in Australia that specialise in Wills are paid handsomely for their services; because writing a great Will is really hard to do well!


I could literally write a Top 100 list of problems that having no guidance routinely causes for people who write their own Will or rely on Will kits.

 
By way of one quick example...

 

The laws of intestacy that dictate who receives your estate if you die without leaving a Will also dictate who has a legal right to your estate...like your spouse, de facto partner, children, other financial dependents.  


So if in completing your DIY Will Kit you decide to inadvertently go against any of these intestacy laws you are opening the door for someone to contest your Will. 

Your estate pays the bill...

 

The court fees and legal costs of a contested Will are paid for by your estate...not the parties involved in the dispute! 

 

These disputes usually mean many hundreds of thousands of dollars go down the drain before your executor can even start to distribute your estate. 


All because someone thought it was a good idea to fly a jet plane without a pilot’s licence :) 

So those are my top three problems with Will kits: 

1.    No Inheritance Protection
2.   No Tax Benefits
3.   No Guidance = Bad Decisions


However there so many other advantages and protections provided by modern Wills that basic 2-5 Will kits do not provide such as: 

Many Family Protectionslearn more


Dispute Avoidance Measureslearn more


Guidance For Executorslearn more


Guidance For Beneficiaries learn more


Flexibility With Changelearn more


Efficient Estate Distributionlearn more

The next logical question is:

What is the right Willl for you?

Option 1

An Estate Planning Lawyer 

This is a lawyer who only does Wills.

 

Not a lawyer that ‘dabbles’ in estate planning along with other legal disciplines. I’m talking about a specialist.

 

Estate Planning is very difficult to do well, so you want someone who's sole focus and experience is Wills. You can tell the difference between a proper Will and a Will kit by simply holding them.

 

Proper estate planning Wills are between 20 and 50 pages long because they are drafted with future scenarios and circumstances in mind and to provide clear and detailed instructions, guidance and powers to executors in order to help them best manage and protect beneficiaries and their inherited wealth.

 

Being an executor is hard enough, let alone without clear guidance or instructions.

 

To re-use the analogy from above, any executor relying on a Will kit is a bit like being given Lego instructions to build a fighter jet. Will kits make the executor's life difficult. 

If you have the time, and the cash, we recommend you seek the advice of an experienced estate planning lawyer. 

Cost: $1,500 - $25K  per couple*

* Depending on your personal and asset circumstances (with multiple in person meetings required with your lawyer).

Option 2

Will Wizard® 

Will Wizard® provides all of the key financial advantages, legal protections and associated documents of proper estate planning Wills, with the convenience of an online Will.

There are no time-consuming meetings and no expensive legal fees. 


No experience or financial details are required, it only takes 10 minutes online to complete, and we guide you through the easy online process so there are no mistakes. 


We provide free secure delivery and free changes, with everything delivered in a beautiful zipper portfolio where your documents can be stored safely long term


We’ve brought together legal and technology experts to remove the two major hurdles stopping most Aussies from having great modern testamentary trust Wills, namely not enough time or money.

Will Wizard® is the next step in the natural evolution of the online Will.
 

It’s the best of both worlds. 


The core benefits and protections of modern estate planning Wills at an affordable price that you can arrange from the convenience of your home, phone or office. 


Learn more about Will Wizard’s fun and simple online process here.

Cost: $499 per couple*

* No meetings required, all documents included, with free delivery and free changes. View Will Wizard pricing options here.

Option 3

Free or Cheap Will Kits

You will have figured out by now that we are not a fan of basic 2-6 page Will kits.

 

There is too much at stake to rely on a few flimsy pages that provide no clear guidance, benefits or protections. 


We believe Aussies are selling themselves and their families short if they choose to rely on these basic Will kits. 


Especially now that we have created Will Wizard - Get Started

Cost: $0 to $300 per couple*

* Just don't do it. No protections, no advantages and often cause problems.

Conclusion

My conclusion is this:

 

Take your Wills seriously and don't rely on cheap Will kits. 

Option 1

Spend the $3,000 - $5,000 AUD on average for proper estate planning Wills from a serious estate planning lawyer... or

 

Option 2


 If you are never going to spend that kind of money  on Wills, or don't have that kind of cash laying around, don't put it off until its too late. 

 

Rely on Will Wizard® for $349 per person & $499 per couple. 

Why?

Will Wizard® is highly effective, affordable and simple to arrange online, with free delivery to your door, and free changes.  

 

Will Wizard® provides the core inheritance protection, tax minimisation and dispute avoidance benefits of proper estate planning Wills, and it comes with all the additional guidance documents to make your life, and the lives of your executor and beneficiaries far easier. 


Basic 2-5 page Will options are simply not worth the risk.

All the best to you and yours for a happy and safe future.