What is the legal meaning of issue, remoter issue and similar terms in wills? Does it mean children? Are all descendants entitled to inherit in the same way? Find our more about this flexible term “issue” here.
Image: Coat of Arms, Broken Hill Courthouse, NSW, by B Stead.
Many provisions in state and territory legislation on succession and wills allow for a willmaker to express a contrary intention in their will to override the statutory rule. Where a provision of succession legislation contains these words, it means that the statutory rule can be displaced, that is not apply in the administration of their estate, if a willmaker has expressed a different intention on the matter in their will as to what they want to have happen.
To see the contents of a deceased person’s will can be difficult if you are not the executor. But in some states if you know who has the will, a copy, or other testamentary document, the law requires them to allow people who are entitled to have access, to inspect or see the will; and have a copy of it. Copying is at their own expense, but costs must be reasonable.
Who can make a will to dispose of their property? Who can make a will? To make a will a person must be an adult and have the required mental capacity. A will made by a minor, being under 18, is generally invalid under State and Territory wills and succession legislation. Exceptions relate to contemplation of marriage, or altering or cancelling a prior will. If the contemplated marriage does not take place, the will is invalid. The court may authorise a minor to make, alter or cancel a will.
Per stirpes and per capita refer to the ways in which a person’s estate can be distributed among their descendants (issue). The point is to take into account any family who may have predeceased them.
Understanding how per stirpes and per capita work is important both in making a will and for legal representatives interpreting one.
Language can be confusing. The way that certain words are used in a will may cause difficulties in interpreting what the willmaker actually meant, but unfortunately may not come to light until they have passed away. Two such words are “children” and “issue”.