“My issue” – considering the meaning of “issue” in wills

The primary legal meaning of “issue”

“Issue” is a technical legal term used in succession and inheritance law and some discretionary trusts.  “Issue” is not defined in wills and succession legislation even though it occurs in some legislative provisions. Its legal meaning has been developed under  the general (common) law going back to at least 16th century English cases. 

The High Court has said that ‘issue’ is a word with a clear prima facie legal meaning.  It means descendants or progeny, and is not limited to children.1,2  Prima facie means at first instance.

Under the general law the “issue” of a person means all of their lineal descendants by blood of every degree, including their children.  That is, your “issue” includes not just your children but all of your lineal descendants of all degrees – your children, grandchildren, great-children  and so down the line without limit. See infographics. This is the primary legal meaning of issue.  

Adopted children – while the primary meaning of issue is about blood relations, legally adopted children can be described as “issue” in certain circumstances and by the operation of the adoption  statutes. 

my issue, children, issue and children, grandchildren, descendants, inheritance, wills, deceased,

Spouses/partners are not issue and so not shown.

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Meaning of stepchild when contesting a will

Inheritance in domestic relationships and stepchildren

stepchild, family provision, testator's family maintenance, A stepchild’s eligibility under the statutory rules for seeking provision from a step-parent’s deceased estate can be difficult.

In a Victorian case1 the executor of a deceased estate applied to the Supreme Court to have a claim for family provision dismissed.

The claim was brought by the adult daughter of the deceased’s former domestic partner, who had died some years before.  She had been left out of his will, despite assurances and promises to the contrary. The deceased had left everything to his new domestic partner.

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Stepchild contesting a step-parent’s will – Queensland

stepchild, willshub, step-parent, family provision,When a stepchild has been left out of the will of a deceased step-parent

In a Queensland case1 a stepchild sought provision out of the estate of his step-mother, a widow.  Her husband, and the applicant’s father had pre-deceased her. She had no children of her own, that is no natural children, so no descendants: only the applicant her step-child, and he was an only child.

Before the applicant’s father died, he and his wife each made wills in similar terms.  Basically these were all to each other, then on the first to die, in equal proportions to the the applicant and a nephew.

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