Frequently used terms

Advanced Health Directive

An advanced health directive deals with the end of your life.  It’s similar to what you might have seen in the movies as a DNR (do not resuscitate).  It’s quite a complex document that you can obtain from your lawyer.  You then need to go to your GP to fill out the form to talk through all the medical related questions, then back to a lawyer or justice of the peace to review and sign the document.


The property that makes up the estate, includes the personal property such as possessions and the real property such as land and houses. These assets are able to be sold in order to pay any debts of the estate if it is necessary to do so.


The people who your estate is to be distributed to. There may be one or more beneficiary, and you can also make an organisation a beneficiary in your will.


All of the property that the deceased owned, this includes possessions, cash, real estate, as well as any interests, rights or licences. The estate also includes anything they owed, including mortgages, taxes and other debts.

Estate Plan

Comprehensive documentation of how your affairs should be managed, not only when you die, but also if you lose mental capacity, or become incapable of making decisions regarding your own affairs.

An estate plan doesn’t just include your will. It can include a variety of components, depending on your own needs and personal circumstances. If you are interested in making an estate plan it is best to speak to a lawyer about what specific arrangements you would need to include.

A person appointed to administer the will. They are appointed by the person who made the will, at the time the will was made. Duties of an executor include: funeral arrangements, administering the estate, paying any debts (from the estate not their own money) and distributing the estate to the beneficiaries.

There are no formal requirements a person has to meet before they can be appointed as an executor. However, you should consider your choice carefully as it involves a level of responsibility and liability. You are also able to appoint more than one person as executor.


The debts or other costs that are owed by the estate.

Power of Attorney

Formal authorisation allowing another person to sign legally binding documents on your behalf. There are different forms that a Power of Attorney can take, and different potential scenarios they relate to, such as a loss of mental capacity. If you want to arrange such powers you should speak to a lawyer as some grants of Power of Attorney can have serious implications and validity requirements.


An arrangement that involves one person, the ‘trustee’, holding property on behalf of a beneficiary. Trusts could be created by your will because one or more of the beneficiaries are under eighteen at the time, and their share needs to be held on trust until they reach eighteen. A trust could also be created deliberately in the form of a testamentary trust.


A person who is appointed in your will to be responsible for any trusts created by your will. Generally the person who is appointed trustee will be the same person you appointed as the executor of the will.


A formal document containing details of how your estate should be distributed after you have passed away. Your will can also include details such as who should take guardianship of your children. Your will must be in writing and there are certain requirements that must be met for it to be valid. For this reason it is advisable that you either have a lawyer draft your will for you, or check it after you have prepared it.

To find out how we can assist you in preparing or understanding a Will or Enduring Power of Attorney, contact our office on (07) 3343 9522 or (07) 5446 1745 or through our contact us service here.