Express Will ➲ All to Children

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A Will for a testator (that is, you, the person making the Will) to leave your entire estate (aside from gifts of personal chattels and optional charitable donations) to your children in equal shares "per stirpes".

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).

A lot of care has been taken in drafting Your Express Will

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

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.

Before you consider creating an Express Will using our [Self-Service] option:

We strongly recommend you first consult with our free chatbot ⩴ Captain [Cicero]℠ to help you quickly + objectively assess whether or not your Will is likely to be complex requiring you to consider legal advice.

If you get the green light from ⩴ Captain [Cicero]℠ to proceed to do-it-yourself using our [Self-Service] option and are still unsure about anything at all, have questions, need peace of mind, or want to discuss upgrading to a Smarter Will:

➲ We recommend you contact us or select our [Lawyer Assisted] option.

Optional Extras:

➲ Upgrade to a Smarter Will ➲ All to Children incl. Testamentary Trust [Download the PDF Explainer for more information];

➲ 💡 Trax Print Fraud + Litigation Prevention Technology $22; and

➲ 🗄 Will hard-copy printing + binding service.

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General FAQ

How do I validly execute my Australian Will?

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.

Next Steps

As soon as practical scan your validly executed Will and email us the scanned copy.

At your discretion, you may bind or otherwise staple the Will and store it in a safe place ensuring you tell your Executors where you have stored it.

Due to the importance of your Will, we strongly recommend you hold off and contact us so we can coordinate the professional binding + physical storage of your Will in Safe Custody.

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.

COVID-19 restrictions mean I can't execute my Australian Will …

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.

Where can I store my Australian Will etc. 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 Supreme Court

Pursuant to s. 51 of the Succession Act 2006 (NSW) any person may deposit a Will in the office of the Registrar.

The current prescribed fee set by the regulations (as at 1 July 2021) is $137.

🔒 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 provide for my Pet/s care in my Will?

Long-term Care for your Pet/s …

✅ If your Pet/s live longer than you …

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.  

Gift your Pet/s

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, as a Plan C, 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 charity as a further 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]

⚖️ If you already have a Testamentary Trust in your Will, you can expand it's scope to include provision for the care and maintenance of your Pet/s during their lifetime.

⚖️ If you don't already have a Testamentary Trust in your Will, the ability to provide for the lifetime care of your Pet/s is another reason to consider adding one.

⚖️ Where a Testamentary Trust is included in your Will solely for the purpose of providing for the lifetime care of your Pet/s it is called a Testamentary Pet Trust.

⚖️ Under a Testamentary Pet Trust the trustee holds the money for the benefit of the named Pet/s.  

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

⚖️ While using a Testamentary Trust 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.

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

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!

Further Reading:

For a more detailed discussion please refer to our blog article “Care Planning for your Furry, Fluffy or Fine-Feathered Pets"  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 are generally not covered 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 upgrade to a Smarter Will?

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.