Bequest: A gift of money or property to an individual or charity organisation.
Child: a biological or adopted child, but not a stepchild, surrogate child or foster child.
De Facto/Domestic Relationship: A relationship where two people are not married, but are living with one another as partners. These relationships are defined and recognised under the law of each state/territory, and include same-sex couples.
Duress: Duress (and undue influence) occurs when someone is pressured by another to write their Will in a particular way to the point where they are not acting âfreely'.
Estate: The total of all property and possessions that you own at the time of your death.
Executor: The person nominated under your Will to administer your estate when you die.
Gift: A specific asset or sum of money that you choose to leave to a person or organisation.
Grant of probate: A certificate issued by the Court to the executor, allowing them to administer the estate.
Guardian: The person you appoint to be legally responsible and care for your children or pets. Note that pet guardianship is non-binding.
Intestacy: The situation where one has died without a valid Will.
Letters of Administration: A document provided by the court to confirm the appointment of an administrator. This is required in cases where a deceased estate has been left without a valid Will, where the Will has not appointed an executor, or where all the appointed executors are unable or unwilling to act in that capacity.
Minor: A child under the age of 18.
Physical capacity: To have physical capability to write a Will, you must:
- Not be legally blind
- Be able to read and write
- Understand and speak English
- Be able to physically sign the document
If you are unsure whether you have physical capability, we recommend seeking independent advice.
Probate: A document provided by the court that confirms the Will is valid, authorising the person named in the Will as executor to administer the estate.
Residual Estate: Everything that is left over after all debts, funeral and testamentary expenses and gifts are provided for.
Spouse: A person who is legally married. It is also sometimes used to describe a de-facto partner, otherwise referred to as a 'domestic partner'.
Testamentary capacity: The mental capability to make a Will. In order to have testamentary capacity, you must:
- Understand the nature and effect of a Will
- Understand the nature and extent of your property
- Appreciate the claims that could be made upon your estate when you die
- Not be suffering from a mental disorder that may affect how you dispose of your assets
If you are unsure whether you have testamentary capability, we recommend seeking independent advice.
Testator: The person who is making the Will.
Trustee: A person or organisation who holds property for another on trust.
Will: The legal document that states a person's wishes for their estate and other arrangements after their death.