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Glossary of Terms

Bequeath
To leave to somebody or dispose of as in a Will

Codicil
An addition to a Will

Executor
An individual or institution nominated in a Will and appointed by a court to settle the estate of a deceased.

Guardian
An adult who has been given the legal right by the court to control and care for a minor. An individual appointed by the court to look after an incapacitated adult may also be known as a guardian.

Heir
Individual who will receive assets upon the death of another. Inheritance Part of an estate, given to an heir.

Intestate
Dying without a legal Will. When this occurs, distribution is overseen by a probate court. (Also called intestacy).

Legacy
Property transferred by a Will.

Living Will
A document in which one specifies which life - prolonging measures one does and does not want to be taken if one becomes terminally ill or incapacitated.

Power of Attorney
A document that gives another person legal authority to act on your behalf. If you create such a document, you are called the principal and the person to whom you give this authority is called the attorney.

Probate
The process by which an executor (if there is a Will) or a court appointed administrator (if there is no Will) manages and distributes a deceased's property.

Proving a Will
Convincing a probate court that a document is truly the deceased person's Will.

Testament
Same as a Will.

Testate
Having a legally valid Will.

Testator
One who has a legally valid Will.

Trust
A relationship where money is held by one person(s) on behalf of or for the benefit of another.

Trustee
The person holding property on trust for another person.

Will
A legally enforceable declaration directing the disposal of the deceased's property. (Also called Testament.)

Page.gif  Appointing an Executor

To ensure your wishes are carried out in accordance with your Will, you should appoint an executor, who will handle your affairs after you die. The role of the executor is one of considerable responsibility, so how do you choose a suitable executor for your estate?

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Page.gif  Can I make a Will myself?

A Will does not have to be a very complicated document, and as long as you follow certain formalities, you can write a simple Will yourself.

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Page.gif  What Is a 'Legal' Will

A "valid" or "legal" Will is one that will be accepted by a court as authentic and can be put into effect by a grant of probate.

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Page.gif  Should I Make a Will?

Everyone over the age of 18 should have a current legal Will, especially if you are married, in a de facto relationship or if you have dependent children.

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Page.gif  Where should I keep my Will?

Once a Will has been written there is no formal requirement for its safekeeping such as lodging it with a particular Government Office or Court, but you should keep it in a safe, easy-to-access place.

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Page.gif  Who can dispute my Will?

You often hear or read about a Will being contested in court by a close family member who feels they are either entitled to more or that the deceased's wishes have been misunderstood. In the main, very few Wills are ever disputed.

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Page.gif  How do I Revoke a Will?

If you make a new Will, you must properly revoke your old one. You can do this by including a simple statement at the beginning of the new Will, such as; "I hereby revoke all old Wills and codicils that I have previously made."

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Page.gif  Sample Will

We have included a sample will for you to have a look at.

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