Culturally appropriate Will for Indigenous Australians: Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders

Create this legal Document

Contact us to create this legal document.

Most Popular

Self Service

Create the document instantly yourself by entering the key details.

A$

Most Popular

Self Service

Create the document instantly yourself by entering the key details.

A$

Self Service

Self Service is not yet available for this document.

Lawyer Assisted

Create the document yourself with 30 mins help from a lawyer.

A$

Lawyer Assisted

Create the document yourself with 30 mins help from a lawyer.

A$

Lawyer Assisted

Lawyer Assisted is not yet available for this document.

Full Service

We create a bespoke document based on
your instructions.

From:

A$

330

Please turn your device to landscape mode to begin creating your document.

Please turn your device to landscape mode to begin creating your document.

Please turn your device to landscape mode to begin creating your document.

Please turn your device to landscape mode to begin creating your document.

Thank you! Your message has been received!
Oops! Please check your details and try again.

Australian Intestacy Laws have not been drafted with any consideration of what is Culturally appropriate for Indigenous Australians: Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders

In cases where no Will has been made, the relevant Australian Intestacy Laws have not been drafted with any consideration of what is culturally appropriate for Indigenous Australians.

Therefore, the law can operate to create disharmony and disputes.

When a Will has is drafted for an Indigenous Australian it needs to be culturally appropriate.

Making a Culturally appropriate Will can help to:

➲ Prevent burial disputes;

➲ Ensure the distribution of the estate is in accordance with the wishes of the deceased;

➲ Make sure young children are provided and looked after by a person approved of by the deceased;

➲ Protect customary law matters and help keep them secret; and

➲ Place limits on the use of the deceased's name or photograph or image after their death.

Digital Legacy Plan extremely helpful for Indigenous Australians

A Digital Legacy Plan comprised of Digital Asset Directions (used in combination with our Digital Safe Custody Vault) can be extremely helpful to the Executor of the Will of an Indigenous Australian in both protecting + keeping secret customary law matters, and placing limits on the use of the deceased's name, photograph or image after their death.

Source:

Aboriginal Wills Handbook: A practical guide to making culturally appropriate Wills for Aboriginal People” by Prue Vines, 2nd edition [2015].

The handbook was written in conjunction with the Indigenous Law Centre at the University of New South Wales (UNSW).

Note: Prof. Vines, the author of the Aboriginal Wills Handbook has waived copyright.

Any part of the Aboriginal Wills Handbook may be reproduced provided acknowledgement is made of its source.

Additional Resource from the NSW Trustee & Guardian:

The NSW Trustee & Guardian has published Taking Care of Business Handbook: Planning ahead for Aboriginal people in New South Wales

It is an easy to read introduction to Wills, Powers of Attorney, Enduring Guardianship and Advance Care Planning for Aboriginal people.

This edition was published in 2015 and includes case studies, tips, useful definitions and contacts.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people are advised that this publication may contain images and references to people who have passed away.

Test your knowledge and get a discount for this document: take the .

Enter the code WHen you pay full price to Purchase one of the following Self Service documents:

No items found.

Re-Enter the code at checkout each time you buy the following documents to get a discount:

No items found.

Resources

What clients say

swipe left or right to view more testimonials
Positive: Professionalism, Responsiveness. I'm one of those nightmare clients that know enough about the law to get themselves into trouble. The restraint and patience that they showed throughout the process; taking the time to explain things I overlooked or didn't understand is one of the best parts of the experience.

Stefan Kent | NSW Conveyancing Matter

,

Google

20

Jul 2021

I had called a few people to help me with conveyancing and every single one were either impatient, humourless, or uninterested. Speaking with James on the phone felt like I was catching up with a mate and served to calm the nerves that came with my first property purchase. Look forward to working with them again!

Stefan Kent | NSW Conveyancing Matter [Cont.]

20

Jul 2021

The self serve resources on the website that they offer also gave me a chance to do a bit of my own research and calm my nerves at 3am. The free legal health check was great! There`s a lot of things in my business that I didn`t realize needed attention. Saved me a bit of cash having to consult a commercial lawyer asking basic questions.

Stefan Kent | NSW Conveyancing Matter [More.]

,

FirmChecker

19

Jul 2021

An up and coming, innovative firm that does things differently. Blue Ocean takes an interdisciplinary approach to its personal + commercial law practice to ensure you’re getting what you + your company needs. It has a growing list of automated 24/7 legal documents with Embedded Lawyer-Logic™ …

Blue Ocean Law Group ➲ Best Law Firms in Sydney [2020 + 2021]

23

Jun 2021

James is very kind and helpful. He is also a very experienced and informative lawyer you can rely on.

T Z

25

May 2021

Positive: Professionalism, Quality, Responsiveness, Value. "Best of the best service! James is so kind and really likes to help. Very professional and knowledgeable too!"

Yan Zheng

10

Jul 2020

Positive: Responsiveness. "Insightful and adaptive legal service. Exceptional communication and collaborative working style - highly recommended."

Emily Stevens

14

Jun 2020

Positive: Professionalism, Quality, Responsiveness, Value. "The service from James Ford at Blue Ocean Law Group has been excellent. Very reassuring."

John Terry

2

Jun 2020

Professional knowledgeable. "The lawyer is really trying to understand the situation and give me the best advice for every possible way to protect my rights. The lawyer also gives advice on things I didn't request initially but definitely need in the future."

Amanda Xu

27

May 2020

What are the benefits of purchasing legal documents directly from Blue Ocean Law Group?

The majority of online Australian Legal Document providers are not law firms!

Whilst it is acknowledged that the legal document templates provided by the majority of [non law-firm] Australian legal document providers will generally have been prepared by lawyers and that the templates they sell are updated from time to time as required by legislative changes.

This does not change the fact that you are not dealing directly with a law firm.

In order to understand what this means from a practical perspective you need to ask the following questions …

What happens?

🧩 If and when you have a legal question?

🧩 If the other party wants to negotiate amendments to the legal document?

🧩 If the legal document does not meet all of the requirements of your specific facts and circumstances?

🧩 If there is a mistake in the legal document?

Lastly, what happens if you are not directly involved in the creation of the legal document?

🧩 What if your accountant, tax agent or financial advisor uses a [non-law firm] online legal document service on your behalf?

To help you answer this question, please read our FAQ: If I create a legal document for my client on your law firm’s website am I giving legal advice or am I a "mere scribe"?

General Answer

A general answer is that online [non-law firm] Australian Legal Document providers are unable to assist clients directly, as they are unable to provide legal advice.

Certain [non-law firm] providers have adopted a business model whereby they earn a substantial ongoing 12 months+ plus referral fee for directing a client to a large directory of law firms who can assist.

This referral fee is charged to the law firm, who may decide to expense it as a marketing cost.

We submit that one way or another, it is ultimately the client who pays for the cost of the referral fee as it increases the cost of doing business for the law firm providing the service to them.

Feedback obtained directly from businesses who have used certain [non-law firm] online services

The valuable feedback we have  obtained is that:

❌ The quality of the online legal documents are basic, non-adaptive templates; such that

❌ The client is more often than not, required to seek assistance from a law firm in order to ensure their legal requirements are met.

As lawyers are required to undertake client interviews and make manual amendments to the legal documents, the final cost ends up much higher than the client could have anticipated, especially when the original online legal document was given away for free or at a nominal cost.

These kinds of business models may not rise to the level of bait & switch, however they may be found to constitute misleading and deceptive conduct.

In our submission, clients appear to be lead to believe that in the majority of cases they will be able to use the standard online documents without the need to engage a law firm to assist, when in actual fact this is not the case.

What are the benefits of purchasing legal documents directly from Blue Ocean Law Group?

When you purchase online legal documents directly from us, we have every incentive to ensure the quality of the online legal documents provided are as high as possible, and that you have all your questions answered.

List of Benefits:

✅ Our law firm already has a copy of your online responses so we can assist quickly and cost effectively.

✅ 1-stop shop. There is no need to wade through a directory of different law firms each time.

✅ Professional Indemnity Insurance (when you engage us for legal advice);

✅ Higher quality automatically tailored legal documents using Embedded Lawyer-Logic;

✅ Deal directly with a law firm, no need for middlemen;

✅ No referral fees built into the business model;

✅ Lower overall legal costs;

✅ Legal document delivered directly from our .law web domain so you know we created the legal document;

✅ Legal Professional Privilege; and

✅ Enhanced Confidentiality.

✅ Blue Ocean Law Group are the only Australian law firm providing you with the option to create Legal Documents online using ⚖️ [Self-Service] and/or [Lawyer-Assisted].

Credits:

This FAQ was created by James D. Ford GAICD | Principal Solicitor, Blue Ocean Law Group℠.

Important Notice:

This FAQ is intended for general interest + information only.

It is not legal advice, nor should it be relied upon or used as such.

We recommend you always consult a lawyer for legal advice specifically tailored to your needs & circumstances.

What is a Free Legal Health Check and why is this the best place to start?

What is a Free Legal Health Check? ✅

Our Legal Health Check is a process that helps you identify + prioritise your individual + business (if relevant) legal needs.

How does it work?

1️⃣ Complete our Intelligent Questionnaire:

You will be asked to provide information about your personal and/or business circumstances;

2️⃣ Automated Report:

The process uses inbuilt Embedded Lawyer-Logic™ to help you identify key legal risks + concerns and prioritise solutions.

A customised (jargon-free) report is generated in plain english with actionable recommendations.

3️⃣ Deliver Solutions:

You can then consider the information in your own time, and when convenient, select the most appropriate self-service legal documents from our online 24/7 portal or reach out to our legal team to discuss your options in more detail.

What does it cover?

🧩 Estate planning;

🧩 Marriage and de facto relationships;

🧩 Tax structuring;

🧩 Dispute avoidance/resolution;

🧩 Investment properties;

🧩 Business sale/purchase;

🧩 Business financing;

🧩 Co-ownership arrangements;

🧩 Managing staff;

🧩 Commercial terms;

🧩 Websites and intellectual property;

🧩 Regulatory compliance.

Why go through this process?

This is an amazing way to quickly + proactively identify legal risks + opportunities to get your legal affairs in order!

Achieve Zen-like “peace of mind” knowing your legal affairs are in order

Our Buccaneer Package is designed for individuals + includes our constantly expanding library of [Self-Service] personal legal documents.

It is compelling value with pricing at less than $1 per day which entitles you to access heavily discounted [members only] prices.

You could save thousands $$$ on your legal bills!

Our Yachtsman Package designed for business owners includes our constantly expanding library of [Self-Service] personal + business legal documents.

It is compelling value with pricing at circa $3.50 per day [equivalent to the price of a cup of tea or coffee!] which entitles you to access heavily discounted [members only] prices.

You could save thousands $$$ on your personal + business legal spend!

Credits:

This FAQ was written by James D. Ford GAICD | Principal Solicitor, Blue Ocean Law Group℠.

More than 1000+ Australian Lawyers use Embedded Lawyer-Logic. How does it work?

More than 1000+ Australian lawyers use this industry leading automated legal document generation solution. It uses Embedded Lawyer-Logic™ designed by leading lawyers in their respective fields.

Step 1️⃣: Information Gathering

Our intelligent online questionnaire adapts to your answers and only asks relevant questions.

Simply follow the guidance and enter the requested information about your matter.

Step 2️⃣: Document Assembly

The information is then sent to our back-end legal document generation engine, which follows a matrix of algorithms to make decisions about what should be in your legal document, just as an expert human lawyer would do.

The engine then draws from an enormous body of content to assemble a top-tier quality legal document that’s tailored to your situation + requirements.

Our Embedded Lawyer-Logic™ technology includes numerous quality control checks + automatic error-correction, massively reducing the risk of human error.

Step 3️⃣: Document Delivery

The finished document is then emailed to you in PDF format, ready to print and sign.

Optional: Lawyer Review/Assistance

Your answers to the online questionnaire and a copy of the finished document in both Word + PDF formats are automatically forwarded to our legal team.

If we notice anything out of-the-ordinary we will contact you to discuss.

If you are a subscribed member or opt for paid Lawyer-Assistance, we will use the allocated time to assist to clarify and resolve any questions you may have.

Optional: Full Service

If your matter is complex, high risk or you have never been involved in legal matters before, we highly recommend you opt for our Full Service.

Our legal team will contact you and assist you throughout the entire process.

If you are a subscribed member the cost for the time spent by our legal team to assist you is heavily discounted.

Credits:

This FAQ was written by James D. Ford GAICD | Principal Solicitor, Blue Ocean Law Group℠.

When should I reach out to speak to your legal team?

Our [Self-Service] legal documents are designed to be completed "without the intervention of a lawyer".

This approach will be appropriate for the majority of routine legal matters, where you are experienced and have learnt what needs to be considered and have gained experience in using our 24/7 online document portal to generate your legal documents instantly.

Some routine matters maybe totally new to you (meaning that you will have questions and we recommend you select our [Lawyer-Assisted] service).

Other matters maybe unusually complex, or of such high-value or risk that involving our legal team is the prudent course to take.

For these matters we recommend you select our [Full Service] option.

Credits:

This FAQ was written by James D. Ford GAICD | Principal Solicitor, Blue Ocean Law Group℠.

Is the Legal Documents Portal Secure? Does it use encryption to protect my personal information?

Our website + back-end system use the best possible web-based security available.

It was once said:

It would take the combined processing power of every computer in the world thousands of years to crack 4096-bit encryption.

In a more general context (outside of encrypted secure website traffic/data) it has also been said:

Data with 4096-bit encryption (only protected by a password) could still be compromised within seconds.
How? Human error.
Easy pass-phrase, written down password, re-used password... etc. basically, always be on the lookout for the weakest link.
Trust the technology, but never trust the weak link - the user!

Credits:

This FAQ was written by James D. Ford GAICD | Principal Solicitor, Blue Ocean Law Group℠.

What extras does an upgrade to Lawyer-Assisted Service include?

Your upgrade to our [Lawyer-Assisted] Service includes …

⚖️ Professional Indemnity (Limited Liability) by a scheme approved under Professional Standards Legislation;

⚖️ Access to Professional Fee Funding* / Disbursement Fee Funding / Family Law Funding (subject to approval by QuickFee our external legal finance provider);

✅ Allocated Time included to understand your circumstances + objectives, answer your queries + provide legal advice & make recommendations regarding alternative/additional options; and

✅ Create your standardised Legal Document based on your instructions.

Plus [+] Where Appropriate (at no additional charge)

⚖️ Use of proprietary fonts to maximise fraud prevention;

⚖️ Use of our Law Firm Letterhead;

➲  Send your Legal Document for electronic signature/s using AdobeSign; and/or

🔒 Application of TraxPrint Fraud + Litigation Prevention Technology.

* More Information about Professional Fee Funding:

Our firm has partnered with QuickFee and Splitit to provide you with an interest free payment option. While we remain your service provider, the payment method is provided by QuickFee, a specialist payments provider for professional firms.

Credits:

This FAQ was written by James D. Ford GAICD | Principal Solicitor, Blue Ocean Law Group℠.

Why does Blue Ocean Law Group℠ use a *.law website domain?

What is a *.law web domain?

⚖️ *.law is a top-level-domain (TLD) that aims to:

Promote trust in the professional legal community by creating a:

✅ Verified;

✅ Exclusive; and

✅ Reserved online space in which only accredited lawyers and law firms can establish a comprehensive digital brand.

✅ Website users can have confidence they are dealing with an authorised and licensed lawyer/law firm.

✅ *.law offers effective branding to those in the legal community, with the ability to secure a domain name that clearly communicates who you are + the legal resources you provide.

All about *.law domain names

Source: join.law - Why *.law?

If I create a legal document for my client on your law firm’s website am I giving legal advice or am I a "mere scribe"?

Is your role that of a mere scribe?

If your role is merely that of a "scribe or scrivener" as outlined below it is unlikely you would be deemed to be providing legal advice or engaging in the practice of law.

Caution: Some Online Legal Documents have evolved!

Unfortunately this is not as easy as it once was … when online legal document templates were all static "fill in the blanks" one-size-fits-all templates.

Increasingly, the capabilities + complexities of legal document automation have evolved to cater to an ever widening range of facts and conditions.

Using the complex design + incorporation of what we call Embedded-Lawyer Logic it is no longer possible to avoid the automated tailoring of the online legal document to suit the client's circumstances + legal needs.

They are designed to produce a quality bespoke legal document just like a lawyer does.

The use of Embedded-Lawyer-Logic™ in the online process:

✅ Is now very similar to a client being interviewed by a lawyer;

✅ It drills down to ask the same questions and provide the same options a highly experienced + competent lawyer is required to do.

As a result the draft legal document created now has the potential to vary significantly based on the responses provided by the client.

We have now progressed to the point that the new normal online process is designed to cause your role to fall outside of the role of a "scribe or scrivener" alluded to below.

In the leading case on this issue Legal Practice Board v Computer Accounting and Tax Pty Ltd [2007] WASC 184; 35 WAR 59 (Simmonds J) noted at para. [152] that Brinsden J in Barristers Board v Palm Management Pty Ltd [1984] WAR 101 referred to Re Matthews (1938) 79 P 2d 535, apparently with approval, as follows at para. [108]*:

The court went on to say that where an instrument is to be shaped from a mass of facts and conditions, the legal effect of which must be carefully determined by a mind trained in the existing law in order to ensure a specific result and to guard against others, more than the knowledge of the layman is required and a charge for such services brings it definitely within the term 'practice of the law' [emphasis added].

How to limit your role to that of a "scribe or scrivener"?

Therefore, we strongly recommend that you advise your client to either:

✅ Create the draft legal document themselves + ensure independent legal advice is sought from our legal team prior to negotiation and execution; or

✅ Instruct you to create the legal documents using our Lawyer-Assisted option.

Doing this ensures your role is clearly limited to that of a "scribe or scrivener".

Our legal team will then take the responsibility for reviewing your client's individual circumstances together with the draft legal document in order to provide your client with the relevant legal advice, ensure your client understands their legal position and options, and to propose and make any required amendments to the legal document based on your client's instructions.

What is a "mere scribe or scrivener"?

In Legal Practice Board v Computer Accounting and Tax Pty Ltd [supra]*:

… the court held that work of the mere clerical kind, such as filling out of skeletal blanks or drawing instruments of generally recognised and stereotype forms effectuating the conveyance or encumbrance of property, such as a simple deed or mortgage not involving the determination of the legal effect of special facts and conditions, should be generally regarded as the legitimate right of any layman because it involves nothing more or less than the clerical operations of the now almost obsolete scrivener (emphasis added).
(The scrivener was eliminated in England by the 1804 Act.).

The view of the Institute of Chartered Accountants in Australia ... ^

Timely reminder

The 2007 case of the Legal Practice Board v. Computer Accounting and Tax Pty Ltd* serves as a timely reminder to members that there are legislative provisions in each state and territory which prohibit a person who is not a legal practitioner from engaging in legal practice.
This prohibition is mirrored in the Institute’s regulations relating to public practice (regulation 1207).
However, there are differences between the jurisdictions as to how the prohibition is framed.  

Even so, members who use the services of document providers are urged, as a minimum, to:
✅ Use only reputable document providers whose services are backed by competent legal practitioners;
✅ Ensure that they abide by the terms and conditions of the document providers as to the use of the documents and their supply to clients; and
✅ Avoid redrafting of documents to suit the circumstances of individual clients, unless appropriate legal advice is obtained by the relevant parties.

Seek legal advice

The Institute believes that the recent WA case does not require any change to a member's legitimate use of this type of service in accordance with their terms and conditions.
However, if you have any concerns or queries about the use of document providers, you should seek legal advice.

Sources:

* Legal Practice Board v Computer Accounting and Tax Pty Ltd [2007] WASC 184;

^ Extracted from the article: Court case raises issues about preparation of legal documents.

Credits:

This FAQ was created by James D. Ford GAICD | Principal Solicitor, Blue Ocean Law Group℠.

Important Notice:

This FAQ is intended for general interest + information only.

It is not legal advice, nor should it be relied upon or used as such.

We recommend you always consult a lawyer for legal advice specifically tailored to your needs & circumstances.

How do I execute my Australian Will so that it is validly witnessed?

Valid Will Witnessing Requirements

We recommend that the Will-maker and the witnesses all sign immediately after each other, in each other’s presence and use the same pen.

This is still the best way to make sure a Will is validly executed because then there can be no argument that the formal requirements were not complied with.

Important: A Beneficiary should not be a witness as they may lose their entitlement under the Will. There are exceptions but we still do not recommend using them unless there is no other option.

Points to note

1️⃣ Use 2 independent adult witnesses who do not have any possibility of a beneficial interest in your estate;

2️⃣ Do not sign copies of the Will as they may become “valid” Wills;

3️⃣ Nothing should be attached to the original Will with a pin or paper clip;

4️⃣ No alterations should be made to the Will after it has been signed.

Please contact us (if you are unsure regarding any of the above) to discuss the best way to proceed to execute your Will when you are ready.

Credits:

This FAQ was written by James D. Ford GAICD | Principal Solicitor, Blue Ocean Law Group℠.

Important Notice:

This FAQ is intended for general interest + information only.

It is not legal advice, nor should it be relied upon or used as such.

We recommend you always consult a lawyer for legal advice specifically tailored to your needs & circumstances.

What can I do if COVID-19 restrictions are making it impossible to execute my Australian Will or other key estate planning documents?

COVID-19 Emergency measures for the witnessing of Australian Wills+

As an emergency response to COVID-19 some states + territories have temporarily relaxed witnessing requirements for Wills + other key documents.

The relaxations allow remote witnessing using an audio-video link (AVL) over the internet. We strongly recommend they only be used as a last resort with the involvement of your lawyer. Practical COVID-Safe alternatives such as "Will through a window!" are preferred.

See our recent blog article "COVID-19 Safe Solutions for Witnessing Wills + Other Key Documents in Australia" for more information.

Credits:

This FAQ was written by James D. Ford GAICD | Principal Solicitor, Blue Ocean Law Group℠.

Important Notice:

This FAQ is intended for general interest + information only.

It is not legal advice, nor should it be relied upon or used as such.

We recommend you always consult a lawyer for legal advice specifically tailored to your needs & circumstances.

What is the difference between per stirpes v. per capita estate distribution?

Per Stirpes = by branch = by the bloodline

Per stirpes means “by branch” in Latin, but is commonly understood to mean “by the bloodline.”

If your estate is distributed per stirpes after your death, each branch of your family will receive an equal share of your estate.

Per Stirpes ➲ Example

Imagine that Amy has three children: Brigid, Charles, and David.

At Amy’s death, all three children will receive one third of Amy’s estate ➲ if her estate was set up to pass per stirpes.

Assume that Brigid predeceased Amy, and that Brigid has two children, Eleanor and Fergus.

Now at Amy’s death, Charles and David will still receive one third of the Amy’s estate.

Eleanor and Fergus will each share in what would have been Brigid’s share, so both Eleanor and Fergus will take one sixth of Amy’s estate.

per stipes graphic
Source of example: Trust Company Oklahoma

Per Stirpes v. Per Capita

These legacy latin legal terms, whilst initially confusing, are very important and can change your childrens' (+ their heirs') inheritance.

The alternative to "per stirpes" is "per capita".

With "per capita" the share of any child beneficiary who dies before you is shared equally among your surviving children ... which means your predeceased child (and consequently, their heirs) would lose their share.

With "per stirpes", in the same scenario, instead of your predeceased child losing their share, it is preserved for their children (if any).

Additional Note:

If the term "per capita by representation" is used (also known as modern per stirpes, American per stirpes), please note that this changes the result of the “per capita" distribution so that it operates the same way as the traditional "per stirpes" distribution described above.

The use of this legal term invokes the concept of a “right of representation”.

This means the heirs of any child beneficiary who predeceases you have the right to representation so they can collect the property originally-intended to go to any predeceasing child beneficiary, so they don't lose their share.

Credits:

This FAQ was written by James D. Ford GAICD | Principal Solicitor, Blue Ocean Law Group℠.

Important Notice:

This FAQ is intended for general interest + information only.

It is not legal advice, nor should it be relied upon or used as such.

We recommend you always consult a lawyer for legal advice specifically tailored to your needs & circumstances.

Where can I safely store my Original Australian Will + Power of Attorney documents in Safe Custody?

Physical Safe Custody Storage Facilities

Australia-wide Facilities

🔒 Commonwealth Bank

Safe Custody Envelope

If you have important documents – like a Will or Power of Attorney – you don’t want to leave lying around the house, the CBA's Safe Custody envelopes let you store these documents safely and securely at one of CBA's branches.

You can access your documents at any time during bank hours.

How much does it cost?

The annual fee for keeping your items in Safe Custody envelopes and/or boxes at a CBA branch is as follows:

🗄 Standard envelope supplied by the Bank - $88 p.a.* per lodgement

🗄 Non-standard envelopes - $198 p.a.* per lodgement

💰 Safe Custody box  - $198 p.a.* per lodgement

State/Territory Specific Solutions

ACT

🔒 A.C.T Supreme Court
[$125 deposit, $46 withdraw. Prices effective as at 1 August 2020];

NSW

🔒 NSW Trustee + Guardian
[$29 one-time fee for a single document; $49 one-time fee for multiple documents. Prices current as at 19 November 2020].

🔒 Custodian Vaults [Sydney, NSW]

"Legal documents take a considerable amount of effort to draw up, execute and are a costly and sometimes irreplaceable.
Items like deeds, wills, and other legal documents are best stored out of the home and in a secure centralised storage facility. These items are not necessarily best stored in the home safe and in almost all cases best kept offsite.
Custodian vaults offers vaults from $25 per month that will store not only a large quantity of legal paperwork but other personal effects like passports, jewellery and bullion.
Custodian Vaults will offer complimentary insurance up to $10,000 and a nominal amount thereafter. Our insurance is underwritten by Lloyds of London, and is significantly cheaper than any level of house and contents insurance, providing peace of mind as well as in some cases necessary compliance."

 🔒 ARA Security - Safe Custody [Western Sydney, NSW]

ARA Vaults are experts in the secure storage of a highly valuable possessions, such as gold and silver bullion, heirlooms, important documents and data, cryptocurrency (such as Bitcoin) and jewellery.

They provide a range of different Safety Deposit Boxes and Bullion Safes to suit your storage requirements and they offer free unlimited access to your Safety Deposit Box or Bullion Safe at their private, state-of-the-art vault facility in Western Sydney.

Their vault is equipped with highly secure technology and infrastructure, including Iris Biometric identification, to offer world-class security for your most valuable assets, investments and possessions.

NT

🔒 N.T. Public Trustee
[“You can store your Will for free at the Public Trustee office in a specially maintained vault.”];

Victoria

🔒 The Victorian Will + Power of Attorney Registry
[Anyone in Victoria can register information about where they keep their Will + Power of Attorney documents at no charge. There is also the option to physically store originals for free];

WA

🔒 W.A. Will Bank
[Free service operated by the WA Public Trustee];

Queensland

🔒 Reserve Vault [Brisbane, Queensland]

"Secure Document Wallet: Secure document storage held in individual A4 sealed Document Wallet in one of our fire resistance drawer safes. Only $99/year!

🔒 Private Vaults Australia [Redcliffe, Queensland]

Private Vaults Australia chooses  single-use bags manufactured from an opaque COEX material and utilise a high security tamper evident tape (resistant to temperature, moisture, and solvent-based tampering).

The non-see-through nature of the material provides complete privacy making them very discreet.

The bags have writable surfaces and printed with unique serial numbers and have a corresponding barcode for convenience.

Document Storage

SCEC Approved

Features            

  • Serial numbered
  • Entire surface capable of being written on with most markers and pens
  • Tear-off receipt for record keeping
  • Gold level security tape is resistant to temperature, moisture, and solvent-based tampering
  • Material – Polyethylene (PE) plastic
  • Security Closure – X-Safe Level 2
SA + Tasmania

For S.A. + Tasmania
[Contact Us].

Credits:

This FAQ was prepared by Suk Jae Chung | Practical Legal Training (PLT) Placement, Blue Ocean Law Group℠ +
James D. Ford GAICD | Principal Solicitor, Blue Ocean Law Group℠.

Important Notice:

This FAQ is intended for general interest + information only.

It is not legal advice, nor should it be relied upon or used as such.

We recommend you always consult a lawyer for legal advice specifically tailored to your needs & circumstances.

How do I best provide for the long-term care of my Pet/s in my Will?

Long-term Care for your Pet/s …

✅ If you pre-decease your Pet/s …

Formal Arrangements

What do you need to understand in terms of your Will?

❌ You cannot name your Pet/s as direct beneficiaries in your Will.

❌ For clarity, you cannot include statements in you Will such as “I give $X to my cat Toby".

❌ Legally a pet is regarded as your property. That is, as one of your possessions.

❌ Pet/s are not legally recognised as a ‘person’ under the law.

❌ This means they cannot own property, hold a bank account, sue or be sued, or in this case, receive a gift as a beneficiary directly under a Will.

There are different approaches to providing for your Pet/s in your Will

The approach to take will depend on your personal circumstances, what you prefer for your Pet/s, and their needs.  

Some simple + valid options to consider for the long-term care of your Pet/s under your Will are as follows.  

✅ You can make a gift of your Pet/s to a trusted family member, after you have discussed it with them and they have agreed to take on the responsibility.

✅ Provide for an alternative, Plan B, trusted friend or family member, just in case.

✅ In addition, it would be wise to give a sum of money (legacy) in your Will to the actual recipient of your Pet/s to cover your conservative estimate of your Pet/s lifetime reasonable living, maintenance and anticipated healthcare costs based on your experience.

✅ Alternatively you could gift your Pet/s to a registered pet charity, rescue charity or pet shelter such as the RSPCA to be re-homed or adopted by another pet-lover.

✅ Ensure you get the name of the charity or shelter 100% correct, and provide for an alternative as a backup just in case.

✅ If you have more than one Pet, consider whether you want them kept together.

✅ Clearly communicate everything to your Executor/s so they can work quickly to ensure your Pet/s are kept as safe and comfortable as possible at a time which will be difficult for them as well as for all concerned.

Testamentary Pet Trust
[Legal Assistance Highly Recommended]

✅  Alternatively, you can establish a Testamentary Pet Trust for the care and maintenance of your Pet/s during their lifetime.

✅  Under such arrangements the trustee holds the money for the benefit of the named Pet/s.  

✅  When the Pet/s die, the trust is wound up and distributed according to the directions made in the Will, which might be to an animal charity or elsewhere.

✅  While this approach provides increased certainty that your allocated funds will be devoted to the long-term care of your Pet/s, it is also more costly to administer.  

✅  Choice of trustee is important.

✅  Someone trusted to carry out the terms of your trust, preferably independent and experienced, needs to be appointed in the Will as trustee for this purpose.

Some Pets can live up to 100 years or more …

Certain species of animals like turtles, koi fish + birds (e.g., parrots) can live up to 100 years or more.  

❌ In most state and territories of Australia (except South Australia) the life of a Trust is a maximum 80 years;

✅ if your Pet/s could outlive the useful life of the Testamentary Pet Trust, it becomes crucial that you seek legal advice in order to create a specific plan for what is to occur if your Pet/s outlive the Trust established for its long-term care.

Don't give your Pets more than they need!

❌ Any gift well in excess of your Pet/s actual needs, opens the door to the possibility that your Will might be challenged by eligible beneficiaries.

NSW Case example[1]: Left everything to the RSPCA + had children who were eligible to make a family provision claim

No Pets were involved.

The Will disinherited eligible beneficiaries, instead giving everything to the RSPCA.

Mr. Simpson left his entire estate via his Will to his second wife, and in the alternative should she pre-decease him, to the RSPCA.  

Nothing was left to his three children from his first marriage.

As it transpired, his second wife pre-deceased him, so everything went to the RSPCA.  

The estate after sales of all estate property amounted to a total of $397,453.58 in cash.

The three children from Mr. Simpson's first marriage successfully contested the Will under family provision legislation and were awarded 40% of the estate after legal costs.

❌ Leaving everything to an animal charity (or any other charity) is not wise where there are children, family and others who may be eligible to make a family provision claim on your estate.

❌ The wasted legal costs paid out of the estates in this case were circa $50,000.

What if you make no special arrangements for your Pet/s?

Your pets are your property so if you make a Will and don’t make any specific arrangements for them, they will form part of your residuary estate.

Whoever you have designated to inherit the residue of your estate will then be entitled to take ownership of your Pet/s.  

If you have not spoken to your residuary beneficiaries, it may be unclear which beneficiary is to take care of which Pet/s.

❌ It is not difficult to foresee the potential for further disputes arising!

Companion Animal Law Guide: 2nd Edition

➲ Compiled by the Young Lawyers, Animal Law Committee of the Law Society of NSW

Hard copies can be found in the NSW State + Local Libraries or you can view/download the online guide via the Resource Link provided at the following State Library of NSW webpage: Companion Animal Law Guide New South Wales.  

Footnotes:
[1]. Marshall & Ors v Redford [2001] NSWSC 763

Further Reading:

For a more detailed discussion please refer to our blog article “Your Pets are Family: Providing Emergency + Long-Term Care for your Furry, Fluffy or Fine-Feathered Friends!"  by James D. Ford GAICD | Principal Solicitor, Blue Ocean Law Group℠.

Credits:

This FAQ was written by James D. Ford GAICD | Principal Solicitor, Blue Ocean Law Group℠.

Important Notice:

This FAQ is intended for general interest + information only.

It is not legal advice, nor should it be relied upon or used as such.

We recommend you always consult a lawyer for legal advice specifically tailored to your needs & circumstances.

Why do you need a Digital Legacy Plan?

What is a Digital Legacy?

The following definition of Digital Legacy has been extracted from the book * Digital Legacy Plan: A Guide to the Personal and Practical Elements of Your Digital Life

A legacy is anything — material, emotional or digital — that leaves a lasting effect after we pass on.
Many think of this in terms of the material goods typically described in a last Will such as your house, your car, your jewelry, etc.
It's also familiar to think about the emotional legacy we leave in the people who survive us — children, friends, colleagues.
Your legacy is also reflected in your body of work, or the impact you have had on the world around you.
What will you be remembered for?
Digital Legacy is a modern extension of what we leave behind when we pass on.

Why do you need a Digital Legacy Plan?

For entrepreneurs, artists, and other professionals

🧩 Ease of business transition and succession;

🧩 Continuity of important or confidential client or corporate work;

🧩 Transfer of hard-earned social proof and follower trust;

🧩 Preservation of personal or professional reputation;

🧩 Protection of intellectual and creative property;

🧩 Strategy for online revenues or valued marketing and sales system.

For you personally

🤔 You are empowered to determine for yourself your Digital Legacy;

🦜 Leave detailed instructions for the long-term care of your Pet/s;

🧬 Think of what you want to see in your Museum of Me; and

💡 Consider whether you want to leave behind something more meaningful than material goods such as an Ethical Will / Legacy Letter?

Resources:

➲ Free curated list of related websites + resources see our Digital Legacy ➲ Smartlist.

➲ Digital Legacy Plan: A Guide to the Personal and Practical Elements of Your Digital Life before You Die by Angela Crocker and Vicki McLeod [2019].

Credits:

This FAQ was created by James D. Ford GAICD | Principal Solicitor, Blue Ocean Law Group℠.

Important Notice:

This FAQ is intended for general interest + information only.

It is not legal advice, nor should it be relied upon or used as such.

We recommend you always consult a lawyer for legal advice specifically tailored to your needs & circumstances.

What might be a valid reason to exclude someone from your Will?

Who is an eligible person?

Broadly speaking, an eligible person may include anyone to whom the testator has a responsibility, potentially including a current or former spouse or de facto partner, children, grandchildren, other dependants and persons living in the testator's household.

If you exclude an eligible person there is potential for a Court to make a Family Provision Order

When the testator dies, any "eligible person"may make an application to the court for a family provision order if they believe that there has been inadequate provision for them under the Will.  

If an order is made, interests under the Will may be adjusted and the applicant may be able to obtain part of the estate contrary to the express provision of the Will.

No Guarantee that any reasons given will be accepted by a Court

There is no guarantee that any particular reasons for excluding an eligible person will be acceptable.  

Whilst the likelihood of a successful family provision orders may be reduced by expressly excluding people who may be eligible persons in the Will and providing clear reasons why they have been excluded.

A Court will take into account all of the facts and circumstances.

What are some potentially valid reasons to exclude an eligible person?

The following are some examples of reasons that may potentially be considered valid:

🧩 Sufficient provision was made for the excluded person during the testator's lifetime such that further gifts would be unfair to the included beneficiaries;

🧩 The testator and the excluded person have had no contact for a long time and no relationship of love/affection exists between them;

🧩 The testator has not had any responsibility for the welfare of the excluded person for many years;

🧩 The financial circumstances of the excluded person are much better than those of the included beneficiaries and the excluded person is being excluded in order to try to achieve a balance of financial welfare amongst all potentially interested parties; and/or

🧩 The excluded person has received, or is likely to receive, significant assets from the estate of another person (eg, a former spouse of the testator, a former spouse of the testator's spouse, etc).

Please note: The Will becomes a public document pursuant to the Court Probate process, consequently any reasons articulated for excluding an eligible person will ultimately be made discoverable by the public.

Credits:

This FAQ was created by James D. Ford GAICD | Principal Solicitor, Blue Ocean Law Group℠.

Important Notice:

This FAQ is intended for general interest + information only.

It is not legal advice, nor should it be relied upon or used as such.

We recommend you always consult a lawyer for legal advice specifically tailored to your needs & circumstances.

What assets generally do not form part of the estate created by my Will?

What are Non-Estate Assets under Australian Law?

The following assets will not generally form part of your estate and are therefore not covered by your Will

That is, assets that are:

❌ Held in superannuation accounts, including any self-managed superannuation fund, unless/until those superannuation assets are transferred into your estate upon your passing pursuant to appropriate superannuation death benefit nominations.

Please refer here for binding superannuation death benefit nominations.

❌ Held in any separate family / discretionary trust;

❌ Owned by a company or held in any unit trust; and/or

❌ Held as “joint tenants” with another person (including bank accounts where you are only able to operate the account jointly with another person);

Assets held as Joint Tenants

Any assets held as joint tenants can only be dealt with as part of the estate if the joint tenancy is first severed into a tenancy-in-common.  

Please note: Our Wills generally do not deal with any assets that are held as joint tenants – however, our Wills give the executor/trustee the power to adjust the proportionate distribution of the estate assets, taking into account both the proportionate distribution of such non-estate assets and the overall tax implications.  

See our FAQ: What is the General Power of Adjustment in a Will?

Foreign Assets

Our Wills are drafted so that they only apply to your assets situated in Australia.  

In relation to any assets held in any overseas jurisdictions, it may be necessary to create a separate Will in the relevant overseas jurisdiction, or if the foreign assets are in a country covered by the relevant treaty, an International Will.

Notional Estates in NSW

In NSW, certain non-estate assets can be considered by a Court in making a Family Provision Order.

For more information please read our FAQ: NSW Family Provision Claims and the concept of the Notional Estate.

Business Succession Planning

If you are a co-owner of any business, consideration should be given to whether your estate will retain or dispose of your share in the business, and vice-versa for the co-owners of the business.

It is highly recommended to put in place a buy/sell agreement to allow for the business to successfully continue operations in the event of the passing or incapacity of a co-owner.  

Under a buy/sell agreement:

🧩 Insurance policies are taken out to cover the death or disablement of each co-owner; and

🧩 If a co-owner dies or becomes incapacitated, he/she is deemed to offer his/her stake for sale to the remaining co-owners and the proceeds of the relevant life insurance policy can be used to fund the purchase of that stake by the remaining co-owners.

Credits:

This FAQ was created by James D. Ford GAICD | Principal Solicitor, Blue Ocean Law Group℠.

Important Notice:

This FAQ is intended for general interest + information only.

It is not legal advice, nor should it be relied upon or used as such.

We recommend you always consult a lawyer for legal advice specifically tailored to your needs & circumstances.

What is the general power of adjustment in a Will?

What is a General Power of Adjustment in a Will?

Our Wills include a general power of adjustment that enables the executor to make adjustments to the allocations and entitlements under the Will.

Adjustments are allowed where the executor reasonably believes that making the adjustments will better reflect your intentions as to the proportionate distribution of both the estate assets and non-estate assets on an after-tax basis.

See our FAQ: What assets generally do not form part of the estate created by my Will? in relation to non-estate assets.   

Please note: A general power of adjustment will not give the executor/trustee the power to add new beneficiaries who aren't already included in the Will.

Credits:

This FAQ was created by James D. Ford GAICD | Principal Solicitor, Blue Ocean Law Group℠.

Important Notice:

This FAQ is intended for general interest + information only.

It is not legal advice, nor should it be relied upon or used as such.

We recommend you always consult a lawyer for legal advice specifically tailored to your needs & circumstances.

What is the role of the Executors / Trustees?

What is the role of the Executors/Trustees?

The executors/trustees are responsible for:

✅ Applying for Grant of Probate (a Court Order allowing the Will to be administered);

✅ Notifying the beneficiaries of their entitlements;

✅ Gathering and distributing the assets in accordance with the Will;

✅ Ensuring that the testator's debts, taxes and funeral expenses are paid;

✅ Managing any assets that are held on trust for beneficiaries pursuant to the Will until those trusts vest; and

✅ Preparing the related accounts and tax returns.

Who can be an executor/trustee?

An executor/trustee may be:

⚖️ An individual over 18 years of age;

⚖️ An appropriately licensed trustee company; or

⚖️ The Public Trustee.  

It is not uncommon for a testator to appoint a trusted professional advisor to the role:

⚖️ A Solicitor, Accountant and/or Financial Planner.

Credits:

This FAQ was created by James D. Ford GAICD | Principal Solicitor, Blue Ocean Law Group℠.

Important Notice:

This FAQ is intended for general interest + information only.

It is not legal advice, nor should it be relied upon or used as such.

We recommend you always consult a lawyer for legal advice specifically tailored to your needs & circumstances.

Why everyone should upgrade to a Smarter Will incl. a Testamentary Trust?

Our Smarter Will provides Maximum Flexibility + Asset Protection + Tax Minimisation

In order to properly consider the reasons why everyone should upgrade to a Smarter Will, we recommend you download + study in detail our Free PDF Explainer Guide

Why Everyone should Upgrade to a Smarter Will?

We offer a range of Smarter Wills to meet your requirements:

⚖️ Smarter Will incl. Testamentary Trust;

⚖️ Smarter Express Will ➲ All to children incl. Testamentary Trust;

⚖️ Smarter Express ➲ Mirror Wills for couples incl. Testamentary Trusts; or

⚖️ Inheritance Deed ➲ Irrevocable Mutual Smarter Mirror Wills for Couples incl. Testamentary Trusts.

The days of the “simple” will are over!

Don’t make the mistake of thinking that old-style Wills keep things simple – they can easily lead to complexity and disputes as they aren’t drafted to properly protect beneficiary entitlements and avoid unnecessary taxes.

Our Smarter Will incl. a Testamentary Trust is a cutting-edge document.

Meticulously designed in consultation with leading Australian estate planning experts to provide maximum flexibility and asset protection + tax minimisation.

Here's how it works:

1️⃣ Discretionary testamentary trusts, rights of occupancy and other trust structures that are aimed at giving your executors every possible opportunity to minimise income tax, capital gains tax (CGT) and other tax leakage;

2️⃣ Beneficiary support trusts/special disability trusts that are designed to preserve Centrelink welfare entitlements;

3️⃣ Flexible child guardianship arrangements to ensure as far as possible that your child guardianship wishes are implemented;

4️⃣ Pass control of Family/Discretionary Trusts and SMSF's; and

5️⃣ Flexible mechanics for allocating and distributing your estate assets.

Cleverly designed to minimise the potential for:

➲ Family provision claims; and/or

➲ Disputes among the beneficiaries.

Potential for massive tax savings ➲ example:

Assuming an income of $72K earned from estate assets (eg, rent from an investment property, dividends from shares, etc.) to a surviving spouse who’s total taxable income is $180K, but who has 4 minor children.

If the distribution is paid directly to the spouse under a normal will, [at the time this example was prepared] tax on the distribution was calculated to be $32,400 – HOWEVER, if the distribution is split equally [possible as a result of the Testamentary Trust] between the children, no tax will be payable!

Tax saved in this example: $32,400 … year after year after year.

A lot of care has been taken in drafting your smarter will

Your Smarter Will has been meticulously designed in consultation with leading Australian estate planning experts to allow you to:

1️⃣  Reduce the need to update your Will for minor changes; and

2️⃣  Greatly assist your Executor in administering your Estate.

Your Smarter Will refers to the following separate lists/directions which importantly DO NOT form part of your Wills!

➲ List of Allocation of Personal Chattels;

➲ Digital Assets (incl. current passwords, and authentication protocols); and

➲ Funeral Directions.

This means that you can update any of the above, at any time, by simply dating + personally signing a revised list/direction (no witnesses required).

NSW: circumventing potential civil liabilities

All Testamentary Trust Deeds contain broad definitions of eligible beneficiaries in order to provide as much flexibility as possible for Trust Distributions.

Long-lost siblings, uncles, aunts, nephews or even kids born or who may be residing offshore as part of their professional or lifestyle pursuits could be or become foreign persons + trigger the need for compliance with recent NSW legislation.

Failure to mitigate this risk by ensuring the Trust Deed irrevocably prevents trust distributions to foreign persons creates a situation where:

➲ If the Testamentary Trust acquires or leases NSW Residential Land (freehold or leasehold, vacant or with a dwelling incl. strata) it could potentially be liable to pay the 8% NSW Purchaser Duty + 2% Land Tax Surcharge.

Your smarter will provides a solution

Your Testamentary Trust can be setup to either:

1️⃣  Revocably prevent any trust distributions to any foreign person; This option retains flexibility for the Trusts to reverse its position at some point in the future to allow distributions to foreign persons; or

2️⃣  Irrevocably prevent any trust distributions to any foreign person. This option is highly recommended if your Trusts plan on purchasing or leasing residential property in NSW.

Please contact our legal team if you need clarification or assistance with this complex decision.

Credits:

This FAQ was created by James D. Ford GAICD | Principal Solicitor, Blue Ocean Law Group℠.

Important Notice:

This FAQ is intended for general interest + information only.

It is not legal advice, nor should it be relied upon or used as such.

We recommend you always consult a lawyer for legal advice specifically tailored to your needs & circumstances.

What is an Ethical Will / Legacy Letter?

The Ethical Will: An Ancient Tradition

Ethical Will definition extracted from Wikipedia

An Ethical Will (Hebrew: zava'ah) is a document that passes ethical values from one generation to the next.
Rabbis and Jewish laypeople have continued to write Ethical Wills during the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. (Riemer)
In recent years, the practice has been more widely used by the general public.
In BusinessWeek magazine and in an American Bar Association electronic newsletter it is described as an aid to Estate Planning; (Murphy; Friedman) in health care and hospice (Baines; Freed) and as a spiritual healing tool. (Weil; Freed).

Modern Perspectives

Ethical Wills (also known as a Legacy Letter) are written by both men and women of every age, ethnicity, faith tradition, economic circumstance & educational level.

Published examples include:

📘 The Measure of Our Success: A Letter to My Children and Yours by Marion Wright Edelman,

📘 Everything I Know: Basic Life Rules from a Jewish Mother, and

📘 President Barack Obama's Legacy Letter to his daughters of January 18, 2009.

Basic Concept

The concept of the ancient traditional Ethical Will was to "transmit  love, learning & ethical instructions to future generations".
The Ethical Will is a tool for spiritual healing in religious communities and in the care of seniors, the ailing and the dying.[2]
Estate and financial professionals use the Ethical Will to help clients articulate values to inform charitable and personal financial decisions + preparation of their last will and testament.
The Ethical Will is not a legal document.
Modern heirs may resist being "controlled from the grave" & more readily accept explicitly spiritual blessings from elders.

Bequeathing Smart Strategies

Convey Values, not Valuables

It could be a letter—ranging from half a page to a bound book—or a video recording.

There are no rules governing what goes into an Ethical Will / Legacy Letter, or when the contents should be shared with the heirs, but the idea behind it is simple: Convey values, not valuables.

Deeply rooted in western religions, the practice of writing Ethical Wills has re-emerged as a way of leaving behind something more meaningful than material goods.

The missing piece of Estate Planning

Susan Turnbull, founder and principal of Personal Legacy Advisors, a firm that advocates non-binding personal-legacy documents as a component of estate and philanthropic planning says:

"What struck me was that it was the missing piece of estate planning
A Will is written in formal legalese that is very limited in scope.
It has no personality, and there is no life or warmth in it.
Love and affection and gratitude may be implied by the document, but are never stated.
An Ethical Will takes a 30,000-foot view of your life, and tries to capture the essence of what has been important to you, and the lasting messages you want to leave.
The Ethical Will is written to help other people, for the benefit of the heirs, but the process the author goes through to create it is as valuable as the document itself.
The author has the opportunity to pause and reflect on her/his life in ways she/he might otherwise never do."

What is all this for?

Linda Beerman, Chief Fiduciary & Risk Officer at Atlantic Trust, a private wealth-management firm, and manager of its wealth strategies group, says:

"Ethical Wills are an important part of helping prepare the next generation to become "good stewards" of the family wealth.
Typically these are private expressions of love, of what the owner of the wealth wants it to mean for the next generations.
It's an effort to pass down not just the money, but all of the drivers [of the] creator of the wealth, and what he or she wishes the legacy to be for the family.
The Ethical Will is a great way to tie it all together.
It answers the question: What is this all for?
With nearly every family there is a deeply emotional personal story behind the accumulation of the wealth."

What is typically included?

🧩 Family history + Cultural & Spiritual Values;

🧩 Blessings & Expressions of Love for, Pride in, Hopes & Dreams for Children and Grandchildren;

🧩 Life-Lessons + Wisdom of Life Experience;

🧩 Requests for Forgiveness for Regretted Actions;

🧩 The Rationale for Philanthropic + Personal Financial Decisions;

🧩 Stories about Meaningful Objects for Heirs to Receive;

🧩 Clarification about and Personalisation of Advance Health Directives; and

🧩 Requests for Ways to be Remembered after Death.

Creating your own Ethical Will

Susan Turnbull, offers the following tips:

✅ Start Today

If you were not here tomorrow, what is the most important thing you would not want left unsaid?

It might be a simple as saying, "thank you" in your own words.

Write it down – you've begun.

✅ Relax + Be Yourself

You are not trying to write for the Pulitzer Prize.

What you create is a gift of yourself, made for those you love, not for an imaginary panel passing judgment on your life or your writing.

✅ Ask Yourself the following …

What do I want to make sure my loved ones know and have in writing?

What messages, feelings and information do I want to endure beyond my life?

✅ Treat it as a Work in Progress

Start small and add to it over time if you wish.

It's natural to expect that what seems most important to share might grow and change as you and your audience age.

✅ Be Careful, Be Loving

The reach of your words is unknowable.

✅ Make it easy to update + easy to find

Keep it in an accessible file, so you can add to it effortlessly.

Keep it with your legal papers or refer to where it can be found.

Make sure your words find their intended audience.

Note: Using our Digital Safe Custody Vault will ensure you accomplish these objectives.

✅ Consider sharing it during your lifetime

Even as you know you may augment or change your document over time, think of the rewards of creating a monologue that will promote dialogue.

Credits:

This FAQ was created by James D. Ford GAICD | Principal Solicitor, Blue Ocean Law Group℠.

Important Notice:

This FAQ is intended for general interest + information only.

It is not legal advice, nor should it be relied upon or used as such.

We recommend you always consult a lawyer for legal advice specifically tailored to your needs & circumstances.