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Estate Planning
Estate Planning document

ClearWill Online

Through Cleardocs, you can choose to include any of the following clauses in your Will:

  • the Will to survive your future or a subsequent marriage;
  • appointment of guardians for children under 18 years old;
  • specific gifts of property;
  • cash gifts including to charities;
  • division of assets in equal or unequal shares;
  • funeral directions; and
  • creation of minors trusts — which protects a minor's inheritance until they turn 18 or a later age nominated by you.

$181.50
  • Cleardocs fee incl GST $181.50
Product Benefits
  • Comprehensive will, avoiding disputes upon death
  • Allows for guardianship of minors
  • Make specific gifts of property and money
  • Gift your residuary estate in equal or unequal shares
  • Creation of a minor trusts
  • Pre-population of information for creation of mirror wills - saving time and typing
  • Option to pre-populate power of attorney orders
  • Includes copy function for address details - saving you typing
  • Extensive online help and local phone support
  • Easy to use question interface
Product Information

What documents are included in the Cleardocs ClearWill package?

This Cleardocs package includes:

  • your tailored Will; and
  • an Establishment Kit explaining what to do next.

What information do you need to order ClearWill Online through Cleardocs?

Download our checklist of the information required to order a ClearWill Online.

Who can make a Will?

Generally, in order to make a valid Will, the will maker must:

  • be over 18 years old;
  • have a sound mind, memory and understanding (capacity);
  • intend to make a Will;
  • know and approve of the contents of the Will; and
  • follow certain procedural formalities to establish the Will.

Who can be an executor?

An executor must be either:

  • an individual;
  • a licensed Trustee Company; or
  • a Public Trustee.

A public or private company cannot be an executor. If you want to appoint a licensed Trustee Company or a Public Trustee, then you should contact that body and ascertain their correct legal name, ACN and business address in your state and territory before preparing your Will.

What is the role of an executor?

The executor deals with the deceased's person estate or assets. This includes:

  • locating the original Will;
  • assisting with and paying for the funeral;
  • determining assets and liabilities;
  • applying to Court for a 'Grant of Probate' (this is the legal document issued by the Court allowing the executor to deal with the estate);
  • ensuring that all your debts are paid and any liabilities discharged;
  • notifying beneficiaries of their entitlements; and
  • distributing the assets in accordance with the terms of your Will.

Information about the trustee

The main role of the trustee is to manage funds or assets that are being held on trust for the benefit of beneficiaries until the funds or assets can be distributed. The trustee is different from the executor in exceptional cases only.

The trustee must:

  • act in accordance with the Will;
  • keep proper accounts and records of the funds held on trust; and
  • arrange for tax returns of the deceased estate to be prepared and filed.

What is the role of a guardian?

The role of a guardian appointed under a Will is to make all major decisions about the welfare of children less than 18 years old. For example, where the child lives, medical decisions, education and religious upbringing.

Maddocks recommends that you discuss your wishes with the guardian whilst you are able to do so. This will give them an understanding of your wishes and the reasoning behind them.

Mirror Wills: we can pre-populate your answers ... saving you some time

A 'mirror will' commonly applies to husband and wife Wills (or a de facto couple) which mirror one another. For example, they may leave everything to each other and then upon the death of the second of them, the estate passes equally to their children.

To assist with creation of a 'mirror will', we'll use information from your previous Will order to pre-fill some of the questions in the new interface. This will save you time in preparing the mirror will.

Seek legal advice

The Wills information here should be considered general in nature, and in no way interpreted as legal advice. You must always seek your own independent legal, accounting and financial advice about your particular situation. The summary on this page is for information purposes only.

Frequently Asked Legal Questions

Cleardocs is not a law firm. So as with all the legal material on this site, the answers to these "frequently asked legal questions" are provided by the law firm Maddocks. Cleardocs does not endorse those answers.

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What happens if I die without a Will?

If you die without having a Will, you are described as having died 'intestate'.

Your property and possessions may not be distributed as you would like.

If you die without having a Will, each state and territory has legislation that determines:

  • who is responsible for distributing your property and possessions;
  • to whom your property and possessions are to be distributed; and
  • the proportions in which they are distributed.

Can I appoint my lawyer, accountant or financial planner as an executor and trustee?

Yes, you can appoint your lawyer, accountant or financial planner as an executor and trustee. However, you should ask them whether they are willing to act.

If you appoint your lawyer, accountant or financial planner (or any professional person), it is likely that they will request a clause be included in your Will that allows them to charge fees for work they undertake in their role as executor and trustee. The Cleardocs document package contains a suitable 'charging' clause.

For Victorian Customers

If you reside in Victoria and appoint a professional person, before executing your Will, you will also need to provide written informed consent to the professional person charging a fee. This product does not include the form of consent.

What is the maximum number of executors and trustees I can appoint using Cleardocs?

In each state and territory in Australia (except Queensland, Tasmania, Victoria and Western Australia), the law does not limit the number of executors you can appoint. In Queensland, Tasmania, Victoria and Western Australia, you can appoint only up to 4 executors and trustees. You can use Cleardocs to appoint up to 3 executors and trustees. Maddocks does not advise more than 3 — practically speaking, it can lead to difficulties, and increased costs, in administering an estate.

One option is to nominate 1 executor or executors to act and then, if they are unable or unwilling to act, 1 or more alternative executor or executors can be substituted in their place.

It is advisable to ask the person or persons you wish to appoint whether they are willing to act.

If you appoint more than 1 executor, if any are unable or unwilling to act, the remaining executors can continue to act.

Does my de facto partner fall within the definition of spouse?

No, a de facto partner does not necessarily fall within the definition of spouse so you need to be clear in your Will. If you have a de facto partner and your Will simply refers to them as 'spouse', that bequest may fail.

To avoid this uncertainty, it is important that any beneficiary in your Will — including your de facto — is appropriately identified; you should list their full name and their current residential address.

What happens if the deceased has nominated a charity as a beneficiary of their estate and that charity no longer exists?

If a charity is a beneficiary under a Will and the charity ceases to exist, what happens to the bequest depends whether the Will contemplated the event of a charity ceasing to exist or amalgamating with another charity.

If the Will states that another organisation that nearly fulfils the charitable purpose of the original charity can be a substituted beneficiary, then that bequest can be made. The Cleardocs document package contains a clause to this effect.

If the Will does not include such a clause, then the bequest will fail.

Additionally, it is important to obtain accurate details of the charitable organisation (full name, ACN, business address in your state or territory) when contemplating making a bequest.

What is the effect on my Will if I get divorced and do not revise my Will or succession plan?

You must revise your Will if you have a change of relationship circumstances.

Any provision in your Will that makes provision for your (now) ex-spouse will be invalid.

The remaining provisions of the Will are still valid except if you live in Western Australia.

If, for example, your Will nominated your ex-spouse as the residuary beneficiary, and did not provide for an alternative beneficiary, then there would be a 'partial intestacy'. This means you have made no provision for the part of your estate which would have gone to your ex-spouse.

What happens to my Will if I re-marry?

If you re-marry after you have made a Will, the Will is invalid unless your Will specifically says it is not to be revoked by a subsequent marriage.

You can order your Will here and then, on the interface, you answer 'yes' to the question "Does the will maker want the Will to stay in force after any marriage?" if you wish to ensure your Will is not revoked by a subsequent marriage.

You must review your Will if you have a change of marital circumstances.

What happens if I am bankrupt when I die?

If you are bankrupt when you die, your estate can be administered in bankruptcy by the named executors and trustees.

Alternatively, a creditor may apply to the court for a Grant of Representation allowing them to administer the estate in bankruptcy.

Can I make a Will if I am under 18 years of age?

No, you cannot generally make a Will if you are under 18 years old. There is an exception if you are legally married or obtain consent from a court.

What are the rules relating to cash and specific gifts?

The rules relating to a cash and specific gifts are:

  • If your Will includes a gift of a specific asset, if you no longer own that asset when you die, the gift fails.
  • Gifts of specific items take priority over gifts of cash.
  • If, after gifting specific assets and paying your debts and funeral expenses there are no assets left to fund cash gifts, then those cash gifts fail. If there are some but insufficient assets to fund the cash gifts, then those cash gifts are reduced proportionately to each other.

What happens if a specific asset is gifted to a person in a Will but that asset is subsequently sold or lost?

If a specific asset gifted in a Will is subsequently sold or lost, the gift fails.

To avoid this situation, you can:

  • leave a monetary gift; or
  • include a broader description in the gift clause, for example, 'any private vehicle I may own at my death' as opposed to specifying a particular make and model of vehicle.

In the circumstance where the asset was dealt with by a person appointed as power of attorney, the gift may not fail altogether. For further information, you should seek independent advice.

What happens when there are insufficient assets left in my estate for my executor to distribute specific gifts of money under my Will?

If there are insufficient assets in your estate for distribution of specific gifts of money, the monies will be apportioned pro-rata, that is, in the proportions specified in your Will.

For example, if your Will provides that 5 beneficiaries are to each receive $100,000 but there is only $100,000 cash available, then each beneficiary will receive $20,000.

Your residuary beneficiaries receive nothing in this example.

Can I change my Will?

Yes, you can change your Will.

You should prepare an entirely new document and make sure it is witnessed properly.

When should I review my Will?

You should review your Will every 2-3 years to make sure it reflects your wishes.

You should also consider reviewing your Will if you experience a change of circumstances such as:

  • your relationship status changes (marriage, divorce or separation);
  • you buy or dispose of a significant asset (for example, a home or business);
  • you have a child;
  • an executor or beneficiary identified in your Will passes away; or
  • you wish to change an executor or beneficiary identified in your Will.

What happens if a beneficiary does not survive me?

A beneficiary must survive you by 30 days to be entitled to inherit. Sometimes a Will may also provide that a beneficiary must attain a specific nominated age before they can inherit.

If the beneficiary fails to survive for that period or to attain that age, then the gift to them fails and will generally pass to the remaining residuary beneficiaries.

There is an exception if the deceased beneficiary is your child or other descendant. In that case, if the deceased child or other descendant themself has a child or other descendant who survives you and attains the nominated age, then the gift does not fail, but passes to those children or descendants. This results in there being a substitute beneficiary or beneficiaries.

To include this substitution in your Will, you can order your Will here, then on the interface, you answer "Yes" to the question: 'If any beneficiary who is your descendant (such as a child or grandchild) does not survive you, do you wish their share to pass equally to their children?"

You will then be asked "Would you like to apply this rule to all beneficiaries regardless of whether they are a descendant of you?" If you would like the substitution rule to apply to all of your beneficiaries (and not just your children and descendants) you should answer "Yes".

What happens to my debts when I die?

Your debts still have to be paid when you die.

One of the duties of your executor is to ensure that all debts are paid and liabilities discharged before your assets are distributed to your beneficiaries.

Generally debts are paid from your residuary estate, but if there are insufficient assets in the residuary estate, any specific gifts are liable to meet the debts.

There is an exception to this rule in relation to secured debts. A secured debt is a debt secured over a particular asset, for example, a mortgage on your home. If you gift a specific asset to a beneficiary which is subject to a secured debt, then the beneficiary inherits the asset and the debt. It is not paid from your residuary estate. If you wish to structure your Will so that the secured debt does not pass with the secured asset, you should seek legal advice about this.


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