Simple Will [Australia]

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

Your Simple 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 Simple 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, by simply dating + personally signing a revised list/direction (no witnesses required).

Before you consider creating a free Simple Will using our [Self-Service] option:

We strongly recommend you first consult with our free chatbot ⩴ Captain [Cicero]℠ to help you determine:

3️⃣  is my Will complex or can I do-it-myself?

If you get the green light to proceed to do-it-yourself from ⩴ Captain [Cicero]℠ and still need peace of mind + a helping hand ➲ you can always select our most popular + very affordable [Lawyer Assisted] option below to have our legal team perform some basic checks and answer your queries before your Simple Will is emailed to you.

Optional Extras:

➲ Upgrade to a Smarter Will 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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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!

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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;

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🧩 Dispute avoidance/resolution;

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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?

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.

Where can I safely store my Australian Will + Power of Attorney documents?

Safe Storage Facilities:

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

🔒 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].

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

🔒 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];

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

🔒 For Queensland, S.A. + Tasmania
[Contact Us].

Credits:

This FAQ was prepared by Suk Jae Chung | Practical Legal Training (PLT) Placement, 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.

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 you 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.