Wills and estates lawyers 'can help you overcome legal language'

Date: Jun 24, 2011

One of the biggest barriers many people face when they start thinking about making a will is the complications of legal language.

Much of the Australian legal system has been inherited from England, where the centuries-old system uses several Latin and Norman-French words - the languages of academics and scientists at the time.

The technical language in many legal documents is primarily used to provide clarity of meaning, as certain words or phrases mean very specific things in a legal context.

An experienced wills and estates lawyer can help you make sense of this 'legalese' and ensure that you understand what your document - and the process surrounding the execution of a will - means.

One of the most common terms you will come across when making a will is the executor. Your will gives this individual - who should be someone you know and trust - the responsibility for carrying it into effect. This includes collecting assets, arranging for their sale if necessary and distributing the remaining assets to your beneficiaries according to the terms you set out in the document.

Another popular term you are likely to come across as you start learning more about wills is probate. At its most basic, a grant of probate is recognition by the Supreme Court of your will's validity, as well as the appointment of one or more executors.

Probate is necessary if your will deals with physical, solely-owned property - rather than joint-owned homes - and other substantial investments. To obtain a grant of probate, the executor must make an application to the Supreme Court - an experienced wills and estates lawyer can help them through this process.

When there is no will - or in the event a will cannot be found - letters of administration, rather than a grant of probate, are applied for.

If you are confused about legal jargon or wish to learn more about drawing up a will, an experienced wills and estates solicitor should be your first point of call.

This individual can help you prepare your legal document in accordance with your wishes and ensure all your affairs are in order.