My Legal Blog

Howdy! I'm Dan Smith and I live with my wonderful family in Perth. This is my legal blog which aims to look at every part of the legal system. I should point out that i'm not a lawyer myself. However, my good friend Stan has been representing people in court for many years. I find Stan's work fascinating and I love asking him questions. I have even done a bit of my own research into the legal system. I decided to pull everything together here so I could organise my thoughts while also providing useful info for others. Thanks for checking out my blog!

Complex Estate? How to Avoid Issues When Drafting the Will

Law Blog

If an individual has a complicated estate, then they'll need to ensure that matters are handled carefully upon their death. They will need to draw up a will and testament that addresses each individual part of their estate and gives clear and unambiguous instructions to the executor. However, some people still run into problems when they draft documentation and may misunderstand some of the legal terminology involved. In some cases, they may expect certain assets to flow automatically through to the estate, but this may not necessarily happen. What hurdles could you encounter if you're trying to deal with estate planning and so that you leave no issues for others?

Overseas Issues

If the estate is complex, it may include various different properties, some of which could be overseas. Bank accounts may exist in foreign jurisdictions as well, and in all these cases, due deference will need to be paid to the laws of each country. This means that the relevant instructions will need to be included in the documentation.

Joint Ownership

It may be a little easier to deal with property, bank accounts and other assets held in Australia, as the law is relatively settled in this regard. However, some people still misinterpret or misunderstand the situation, especially in the case of jointly owned property. If you share some ownership in a bank account or building with another, ownership will automatically revert to the survivor. This is the case even if you set up the arrangement in the beginning and no matter what you have subsequently put in the will.

Superannuation and Life Insurance

In the case of a life insurance policy or a superannuation package, look at the documentation before completing your will. You may have created these vehicles a long time ago and may have forgotten about legal nomination. It is possible that you nominated a particular individual to receive the benefit, and if this is the case, that instruction will overrule anything that you should put in the will.


You may run into a problem with a trust, as well. Each trust may have different rules, and much will depend upon what is written within the deed. You may appoint a certain person to handle the dissolution of the trust, but look at the fine print to see whether this duty will fall automatically to your nominated legal representative instead.

Avoiding Any Issues

If your estate is complex, it is always a good idea to bring in someone who is qualified to give you legal advice. They can help you avoid any pitfalls and will look back at the relevant documentation before the will is drafted.


27 December 2019