When it comes to having a Will prepared I have said many times it is wise to use the services of a solicitor.  The cost is usually a bargain compared to the peace of mind that comes from having a properly prepared Will.  I know there can be attractive alternatives to get a Will other ways, which might save you a few dollars and one is to use the Public Trustee’s free Will service.  Well, free provided you appoint them to be your Executor, in which case they will charge you for administering the Estate and obtaining a Grant of Probate, if that is required.

Probate is the application by an executor to the Supreme Court for approval to deal with the assets of the Estate.  While this may not be a welcome thought at such an emotional time, it is essential in many cases to allow collection of monies from bank accounts, sell assets and many other actions regarding the Estate.  There is a cost involved but exactly what those costs are depend a number of things, essentially related to how the estate is structured and the value of the assets.

Solicitor’s costs in obtaining Probate are regulated by the Legal Profession Act.  The schedule sets out a scale of fees, which can be charged by a solicitor for the work based on the value of the assets.  A basic application includes obtaining instructions, advice relating the estate, verifying details of assets, preparation of court documents, execution, filing, answering requisitions, perusal of grant and arrangements re distribution.  An example of the fees chargeable by solicitors are;

Asset value                 Allowable Fee (incl’s GST)

$150,000.00                $1,837.00        (or 1.22%)

$300,000.00                $2,100.00        (or 0.86%)

$500,000.00                $3,558.50        (or 0.71%)

$750,000.00                $4,787.20        (or 0.64%)

Compare this to the Public Trustees standard fees;

$150,000.00                $6,050.00        (or 4.05%)

$300,000.00                $9,900.00        (or 3.3%)

$500,000.00                $12,100.00      (or 2.42%)

$750,000.00                $13,200.00      (or 1.76%)


In both cases there can be additional costs for work done which does not fall into a standard first time application for Probate.  These are usually charged at an hourly rate, plus any disbursement costs.  Give me a call if you would like advice about your Will and Estate.