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Estate Planning: Preparing for your Will Appointment

Estate Planning: Preparing for your Will Appointment

June, 2023

Download the full version of this document below

How to Prepare for a Will Appointment with Your Lawyer

This info-sheet sets out the information we need to know about to advise you and prepare a suitable Will for you. Some of this information will be relevant to your situation, and some may not be.

Your lawyer will go through these things with you at your appointment. It will progress things along if you have thought about these matters beforehand.

Most people need 3 documents:

  1. A Will
  2. An Enduring Power of Attorney
  3. A Superannuation Binding Death Benefit Nomination

Note: If you have assets (excluding superannuation) in excess of $1 million dollars, you should consider having a Will that contains a Testamentary Trust.  Please see page: Estate Planning - Testamentary Trust Wills.

Details of Relevant People

You will need to provide the full names, dates of birth, and contact details (including phone numbers, email addresses and residential and postal addresses) of the following people:

  1. Proposed Executors of your Will
  2. Proposed Alternative Executors of your Will (ie. the back-up/substitute Executors)
  3. Proposed Beneficiaries of your Will

These are the people you want to benefit from/to inherit gifts in your Will.

This includes considering any alternative/substitute beneficiaries if your primary beneficiaries do not outlive you and you may not get a chance to update/change your will. For example, if you were in an accident with your spouse and children and there were no grandchildren that outlive you, then who would you want to inherit in your will?

  1. Spouse (and any former spouse) de-facto or otherwise
  2. Children (including biological, adopted, stepchildren and foster)
  3. Grandchildren
  4. Financial Dependants
  5. Any immediate family not provided for above
  6. Proposed Guardians of your minor children
  7. Accountants, financial advisers and doctors
  8. Proposed Attorneys and any proposed substitute Attorneys (to make decisions for you when you are still alive and do not have mental capacity to do so for yourself)

Current and Historical Estate Planning Documents

If you already have any current Estate Planning Documents, please bring copies to the appointment, as well as any prior Estate Planning Documents such as:

  1. Will
  2. Enduring Power of Attorney
  3. Trust Deeds for any Trust (Family Discretionary Trust, Units trust etc)
  4. Superannuation Member Benefit Statement
  5. Superannuation Binding Death Benefit Nomination if you have one

 And (if relevant):

  1. SMSF (Self-managed superannuation fund) Trust Deed
  2. Superannuation/allocated Pension or other Pension Documents
  3. Policy Schedule for any life insurance you have
  4. Advanced Health Directive (if you have one)
  5. Pre-paid funeral plan insurance policy
  6. Family Law Financial Agreements, Family Law Consent Orders, Child Support Agreements, Spousal Maintenance Agreements, other Agreements, other Court Judgments or Orders, other Court documents for court action/proceedings still pending
  7. Evidence of Divorce and/or change of name
  8. General Power of Attorney
  9. Partnership Agreements
  10. Company Constitution or Company Memorandum and Articles of Association
  11. Shareholder Agreement for your company


Note: Please be aware if you…

  • Wish to include a trust in your Will,
  • Wish to include a ‘right to reside' to be granted to someone to live in a house you own after your death,
  • Or have a company and/or Trust already in existence,

... Your affairs are beyond the scope of a Standard Will. You will need a more complex Will with specially drafted clauses or a Testamentary Trust Will. We will give you a quote after the first appointment and you can decide if you wish to proceed.


Assets + Liabilities

You will need to provide a list of your assets and liabilities.

If you have superannuation and/or life insurance – you will need to provide details of these policies.

If you hold a position in a private company, trust, partnership, business or self-managed superannuation fund, please telephone our office as your affairs may be complex and we will require additional documentation from you at your appointment. 

See the Assets and Liabilities List within the downloadable PDF version of this document. 

Gifts to Beneficiaries

Gifts to beneficiaries can take several forms. They can be:

  • Specific gifts of assets. For example, particular items of jewellery, real estate, shares in the family and public companies, superannuation etc
  • Specific gifts of cash
  • General gifts, for example, ‘all of my household chattels’
  • Annuities (generally to be avoided)
  • Life interests (generally to be avoided)
  • Gifts of residue to ‘A’, ‘B’ and ‘C’ equally or in particular proportion
  • ‘As shall survive you’ or ‘If ‘A’ should die before, then to ‘X’ and so on
  • Gifts to charities
  • Rights to reside in a house (generally to be avoided)

Foreign/Overseas Assets

If you are domiciled (live) overseas or have assets in another country, special considerations apply, and your Will may be more complex than a Standard Will.

Urgency of Will

Please tell us if you have a terminal illness, upcoming surgery or medical condition that may deteriorate your health quickly, are travelling interstate or overseas or you participate in risky activities such as skydiving or scuba diving. If we cannot do your Will/documents quickly we will give you a referral to someone who can.


Enduring Power of Attorney

Consider who you want to be your Enduring Power of Attorney.

Your Attorney is the person/s who will make health and financial decisions for you when you lose capacity. You can have different people for health decisions and financial decisions.

Consider a back-up - alternative or substitute people to be your attorneys if the first set of people named cannot or will not act.

Bring the full name, address, phone numbers and dates of birth of the people you wish to appoint as your Attorneys.

Company Power of Attorney

If you have a company, you may need a general Power of Attorney for your company. Consider who you would want to manage your company in your absence due to illness, injury or otherwise and provide their full names, dates of birth, address, phone number and email address.


Download the full version of this document below


O’Shea Dyer Solicitors offer a low fixed fee First Appointment of $330 (inc gst) for all Estate enquiries.

You get to chat with an experienced Lawyer who understands the issues and the laws that apply.

You receive advice from an experienced Estate Lawyer who will give you advice tailored to your situation.

Ask about our prices for Wills, Testamentary Trust Wills and Enduring Power of Attorney Documents.

We try to make it as affordable and easy as possible.


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07 4772 5155

Wills and Estates Succession Lawyer townsvilleKrystal Potrzeba

Senior Associate

Wills & Estates Lawyer


Ivan Baxter

Director of O'Shea Dyer Solicitors

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