Whether you need to revise a will or are writing one from scratch, contacting a solicitor is a smart move. Not only will it save you time but also it will help you prevent costly mistakes that may affect your estate in the future. If your will is revoked or challenged after you pass away, this will cause turmoil for your family as your estate will be divided in ways you would not have wanted. Here are three tough questions to ask an Australian solicitor when looking to have a will written. The answers you receive to these questions should help you narrow down your choices.
1.‘How Many Years Experience Do You Have?’
In Australia, any hand-written will is considered valid as long as you are over 18 years old and at least two people have witnessed your signature. DIY will-writing kits are a popular option yet many people make innocent mistakes. Few people consider that the witnesses may pass away before they do, for instance. Wills are also invalidated if the witnesses, their spouses or common-law partners stand to benefit financially. An experienced solicitor will never let you make these mistakes. Therefore, your first question should regard their level of experience. The more experience a law firm has, the better placed they will be to help you write a legally-binding will that cannot be challenged in court.
2.‘Do You Charge For Making Revisions?’
As people are not only living longer but also having more partners, revising a will is a far more common occurrence. Many Australians do not realize that wills are invalidated when they marry or re-marry, for example. Furthermore, many people do not know that their wills are not automatically cancelled when they separate or divorce. This can cause situations when the bulk of an estate can pass to a former spouse simply because the deceased failed to revise their will to reflect their change in circumstances. Before hiring a solicitor to write your will, it is important to check whether they charge low rates for carrying out changes or alterations during your lifetime.
3. ‘Do You Offer Fixed Fees?’
Many people are so stressed by the thought of contacting a solicitor that they procrastinate and put off getting a will altogether. Asking a firm whether they offer fixed fees is a good indication of whether their services will give you value for money. According to the Australian Lawyers Directory, you should ask upfront for a written quote of all fees for creating a will or power of attorney documents. This helps avoid the traditional law firm scenario where clients are billed based on units of time and costs escalate rapidly, something most people want to avoid. Boutique law firms, perhaps those who operate a virtual office, are more likely to offer fixed fees. Without crippling overheads such as rent, they can focus on offering their clients high-quality legal work for a fair price.
These three tough questions should help any Australian find a reputable solicitor to write their will. Creating a will needn’t be a hassle and the answers you receive to these questions should help you narrow down your choices.
What do you think of our questions? Were they helpful? What questions would you ask? Let us know in the comments section below.
Author Bio: Warren Brown is a freelance blogger and an ace creative write with many years of experience writing for top blogs. Warren has written on a myriad of topics and has written several posts for us.