THERE are broadly three options for preparing a will.

The cheapest option is to prepare the will yourself. Do-it-yourself kits with instructions and sample wills can be bought from newsagents or via web sites like for between $25 and $40.

A second option is to use a solicitor, with costs starting between $80 and $90 for a simple will. A key issue is to ensure the solicitor has sufficient experience in this specialist field.

Some trustee companies (eg Tower Trust and National Australia Trustees) also prepare wills on a fee-for-service basis.

The third option is to appoint a trustee company as executor of the estate. In this case, they will prepare and store the will without charging an up-front fee. Instead, the trustee company recovers a fee after you die, from administration of the estate.

In most cases the fee is linked to the value of assets in the sole name of the deceased, though the details vary widely.

ANZ Trustees charges 4.4 per cent on the first $400,000 of assets, 2.2 per cent on the next $600,000 and 1.1 per cent on amounts over $1 million.

The government-owned Public Trustee has similar fees except that it charges just 1.1 per cent on the family home if it is transferred to a spouse or children.

National Australia Trustees has lower percentage fees – 1.62 per cent on the first $1 million and 1.08 per cent on the balance – but also levies an hourly fee for time spent. Perpetual (and most solicitors) charge on an hourly basis, so the amount paid is linked to the complexity of the estate rather than its size.

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