Glossary of Terms

There is some terminology associated with Wills and Estate Plans that it is helpful to be familiar with.  These terms are set out below.


a gift of personal property by Will;


in the context of a Will, usually means anyone who benefits from the Will;

Binding death benefit nomination

a nomination that conforms with the requirements set out in regulation 6.17A of the Superannuation Industry (Supervision) Regulations 1994;


an addendum to a Will executed in the same way that a Will is executed;

Conditional gifts

a gift made upon condition of some event occurring;


a gift of real property (land) by Will;

Discretionary beneficiary

a beneficiary of a discretionary trust;

Discretionary trust

a trust which the trustee has a discretion to distribute income and capital;


the person giving powers to another under a document such as a power of attorney or power of guardianship.  Sometimes referred to as the principal;

Enduring power of attorney

a power of attorney made in accordance with s104 of the Guardianship and Administration Act 1990 (WA);


appointed by the will maker, the executor has the responsibility of administering the estate and is a trustee of the estate after administration is completed;

Grant of administration

the document appointing a person to manage a deceased estate

Grant of probate

proof of the Will which is issued by a court;


where someone dies without having made a valid Will.  The administration and distribution of the estate is governed by statute;


generally means all of one's children and their children down through the generations, including grandchildren, great-grandchildren, and so on;  also referred to as lineal descendants;


a geographic area subject to the same set of laws.  In Australia, the main jurisdictions are States and Territories and the Commonwealth.  Different rules may apply in different states;


a cash gift made from an estate;

Legal personal representative

the executor (where there was a Will) or the administrator (where there was no will or no valid appointment of an executor) of an estate;


the recipient of a legacy;

Life interest estate

a trust created by Will giving a person (the life tenant) the use of one or more assets during their lifetime.  In addition to a dwelling, the assets often include investments.  It differs from a use and enjoyment trust as the life tenant often has broader rights;


a person under the age of 18;

Mutual wills

an arrangement whereby two people, typically husband and wife, make Wills and agreed not to change their respective Will without the consent of the other.  Following the death of the first of them, the survivor is unable to change their Will;

Protective trust

the generic term for a trust established for people who are unable to look after in their own affairs;

Reciprocal Wills

Wills (usually made by spouses) that are substantially in the same terms;

Remainder beneficiaries

generally, the beneficiaries who received the assets of the trust on the death of the use and enjoyment beneficiary or a life tenant.  It is possible for there to be a success of life tenants or use and enjoyment beneficiaries;

Residuary beneficiary

the beneficiary to whom the remaining estate (the remaining assets after all debts, legacies, gifts etc are distributed) is distributed;

Superannuation death benefit

a benefit received by an individual due to the death of another person.  The benefit does not necessarily originate from superannuation funds or moneys;

Testamentary capacity

the mental state that is required to be able to make a valid will;

Testamentary trust

a type of trust created by a Will.  The term is usually used to describe a trust created by a Will that has features and operates similar to a discretionary family trust;