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  • Writer's picturePeter Jones


Updated: Jan 8, 2021

Administrator(s) – A person or people appointed by the Supreme Court to administrate the estate of a deceased person who has died without leaving a Will. The Administrator’s powers are similar to those of an Executor. These powers are identified in the Administration Act.

Advanced Health Directive – A document prescribed by the Guardianship and Administration Act whereby a person can outline their decisions about their future medical care. It only comes into effect when the person is unable to make reasonable treatment decisions about their own medical treatment or care. Advanced Health Directives are commonly known as Living Wills.

Appointor – Means a person who is appointing another to perform a particular function. In the contexts of Wills and Estates, it refers to the person who is making an Enduring Power of Guardianship. In the case of a Trust, it means the person who administers the trust.

Assets – Things that belong to you and form part of your Estate.

Beneficiary(ies) – Any person or people that you would like to benefit from your estate, or a part of it.

Donor – Means a person who is granting a power or defined right to another. In the context of Wills and Estates, it refers to the person who is making an Enduring Power of Attorney.

Donee – Means a person who is receiving the grant of power or defined right from another. In the context of Wills and Estates, it refers to the person who is appointed attorney pursuant to any form of Power of Attorney including an Enduring Power of Attorney.

Enduring Power of Attorney – A Power of Attorney whereby the Donor appoints others to make financial and legal decisions. The difference with this type of Power of Attorney is that the Donor is able to exercise the powers that are given even though the Donor has lost legal capacity. The form of this document is prescribed by the Guardianship and Administration Act.

Enduring Power of Guardianship – This form, regulated by the Guardianship and Administration Act, allows a person (the Appointor) to appoint other(s) to make decisions regarding the Appointor’s personal welfare, lifestyle and medical treatment options if the Appointor loses the ability to make those decisions for himself/herself.

Executor(s) – The person or people that you appoint to carry out the wishes that you express in your Will.

Guardian(s) – The person or people that you have appointed to take care of the upbringing of your children under the age of 18.

Informal Will – A Will that does not conform to the formal requirements of the Wills Act. It may be incorrectly signed or witnessed or even unsigned. The Supreme Court has the discretion whether to grant Probate on an informal Will.

Intestacy – If you die without a Will then you are said to have died ‘intestate’. The effect of intestacy is that Parliament has enacted a law dealing with the payment of your debts and how your assets will be distributed. This is through the Administration Act.

Issue – The word refers to a person’s first level lineal descendants meaning children. This follows bloodlines and does not include adopted children.

Legacy – A gift within a Will.

Legal Capacity – The state of an adult person’s mind, decision-making process and health whereby the person is able to make decisions that deal with that person’s legal rights. Assessment of capacity can be complicated.

Letters of Administration – A process of the Supreme Court, Probate Division, that is like the granting of Probate whereby either:

  1. A person has appointed to the administrator an intestate estate; or

  2. A person is appointed Administrator to a Will where the nominated executor is unwilling or unable to accept the appointment.

Liabilities – What you owe at the date of your death e.g. debts, a mortgage, loan, credit card, tax etc.

Life Interest – Means an interest in property that allows a nominated to stay in that property for their lifetime.

Living Will – See Advanced Health Directive.

Pecuniary – Gifts Gifts of money.

Per Stirpes – A Latin phrase meaning “by stocks and branches” that determines who receives a legacy of a deceased beneficiary; the reference point for which is a common ancestor who has died. The provision in which the phrase is used has the effect of providing for a deceased beneficiary’s share to be divided equally between that beneficiary’s children who survive, or the children or remoter issue [only those who are living] of the beneficiary’s beneficiary who has died. The diagrammatic representation is a family tree.

Power of Attorney – Means a document pursuant to which a person appoints another to exercise their power over assets and many legal rights normally related to business matters.

Probate – The legal process that a Will goes through whereby the Supreme Court reviews the Will to ensure that it is in order and complies with the law. The result is that the Court issues a Grant of Probate which then empowers the Executor. Until a Grant of Probate is issued an Executor has no power or authority to act.

Remoter Issue – The phrase refers to a person’s lineal descendants beyond children, meaning grandchildren, etc. This follows bloodlines and does not include adopted or step-grandchildren and beyond.

Residue – Means what is left in an estate once debts are paid and specific items have been gifted as specified in the Will.

Specific Gifts – Gifts within a Will of specific items to the named beneficiary(ies).

Specific Legacy(ies) – Gifts within a Will of specific items to the named beneficiary(ies).

Statutory Provisions – The Law; contained in many statutes including the Trustees Act, the Wills Act; the Administration Act; the Guardian and Administration Act; the Inheritance [Family and Dependents] Provisions Act and so on.

Testamentary Trust(s) – A real bit of jargon; in simple terms, it is any trust that is set up by or within a Will.

Testator – A male Will maker.

Testatrix – A female Will maker.

Trustee(s) – The person or people that you have appointed to control any trusts you set up in your Will. They will have to make decisions such as when, if or for what reason cash should be advanced before a child attains the age stated in the Will. They may also decide on what investments should be made with the capital that is not advanced.

There are many other different ‘legal jargon’ words and phrases used in Wills and Estate planning.

For further information contact our team on (08) 9368 1337

Information provided by Willcraft Estate Planning Pty Ltd, An Incorporated Legal Practice.

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