A Will is generally a formal written and signed statement, which provides for the distribution of a person's property and assets, to take effect on that person's death.
It is an important legal document that all adults should have, to protect the assets they have worked hard to accumulate.
Making a Will is a specialised task, often requiring consideration of complex financial, legal and tax issues to ensure that your estate is distributed in accordance with your wishes.
COVID-19 update - changes to Wills and Enduring Powers of Attorney (EPA's):
Effective: 2 June 2020
COVID-19 update: During the COVID-19 pandemic, the Public Trustee and Guardian (PTG) has adopted a new policy in respect to making Wills and Enduring Powers of Attorney (EPA's). This has been necessary to comply with current government restrictions and guidelines for all but essential services and to protect the health and safety of our staff and clients.
PTG has amended its COVID-19 policy on the preparation of Wills and EPOAs to accommodate S.4 of the COVID-19 Emergency Response Act 2020. Under this revised policy, PTG will continue to make Wills and EPOAs only for persons in Emergency situations. For these purposes, 'Emergency' means where the person is gravely or terminally ill.
In these Emergency situations, please call our switchboard on (02) 6207 9800 during business hours or email us through our contact form to enquire about making an appointment.
Should we agree to go ahead and make your Will/EPOA, one of our staff will contact you to make the necessary arrangements. We will take your instructions by phone and make a draft of the Will/EPOA. We will either email the draft Will/EPOA to you or visit your place of residence to confirm and finalise the Will/EPOA.
To arrange the signing and witnessing of the document, PTG will observe the following practice.
A. If the Will/EPOA is to be signed and witnessed in person:
During the visit, our staff will wear a mask and use antibacterial sanitiser and may ask you to do the same. The meeting will also seek to identify you, ensure that you have capacity to make a Will/EPA and that you are making your Will/EPA freely and voluntarily without coercion.
Once the Will/EPA is made, it will be printed, signed and witnessed on the spot.
B. If the Will/EPOA is to be signed by the testator/principal and then witnessed by PTG by audio-visual link:
The signature and witnessing of the Will/EPOA must be undertaken in real time.
The signature and witnessing must be undertaken through an audio-visual link (eg Skype, Facetime, Webex, Zoom, Microsoft Meeting etc).
PTG must observe the testator/principal's signature of the document in the original. The signature of the witness will be accompanied by the following statement:
'I confirm that I witnessed the signature of XYZ by audio-visual link and that the document that was signed is one and the same as the document I witnessed and that I witnessed the signing of the document in accordance with S.4 of the COVID-19 Emergency Response Act 2020.'
No fee is payable for Will/EPA's made in this manner during COVID-19.
- A significant number of persons who die in Australia each year, do so without having left a Will.
- Many Wills drawn up during a person's lifetime do not reflect the testator's current wishes.
- Many people incorrectly believe that Wills are necessary only for the wealthy.
- Making a Will is not an expensive process.
- Your assets may be worth more than you realise.
Why choose the Public Trustee and Guardian?
The Public Trustee and Guardian can prepare your Will only where nominated as the Executor to administer your estate.
The different circumstances and needs of individuals are paramount to the Public Trustee and Guardian in the preparation of Wills.
Will-making is a specialised task with complex financial, legal and tax implications that should be considered to ensure that your estate is distributed as you wish.
Given the importance of this document, it is vital that it is prepared by an expert who is supported by legal, accounting, taxation and investment professionals.
The Public Trustee and Guardian has:
- prepared over 12,000 Wills and prepares around 750 - 800 Wills each year;
- over 30 years experience in the preparation of Wills for residents of Canberra;
- low fees for the preparation of Wills;
- the expertise to offer objective and impartial advice that may help avoid any potential conflict and ensure the most effective distribution of assets.
- perpetuity; and
- the certainty of retaining your original Will safely and securely until required.