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Removal of free wills impacts Public Trust

The introduction of charging for will preparation was much greater than anticipated on Public Trust, Chief Executive Graeme Hansen says.

Writing in the Annual Report of Public Trust for the year to 30 June 2013, Mr Hansen says Public Trust experienced a decline in fee revenue of $3.7 million in the year.

"The impact of charging for wills has been much greater than anticipated at the time that charging was introduced on 1 July 2012," he says. "This had an impact on volumes of both new wills and re-writes. Wills revenue is $1.3 million below budget, and because wills appointments often result in cross-sales of other services, we have had lower fee revenues in those areas as well."

Mr Hansen says wills funding from the Ministry of Justice was reduced from 1 July 2012, at which time it was signalled that all funding for wills would cease from 1 July 2013.

In preparation for this Public Trust developed a "simple will approach", primarily as a discounted online service.

During the year to 30 June 2013, Public Trust prepared 3,233 new wills which met its defined eligibility criteria. This did not achieve the performance measure of 5,000 new eligible wills.

A performance measure of 85% of wills being available for signing within 7 days of taking instructions was also not achieved, with the actual figure being 77%.

However, Public Trust did meet its performance measure for internal legal audit of a random selection of 10 wills per month with an error rate of no more than one requiring re-writing. Of 233 wills audited, two required redraft. 

Last updated on the 16th September 2019