Course Title: Explore and apply wills, probates and administration procedures

Part B: Course Detail

Teaching Period: Term2 2019

Course Code: LAW5720

Course Title: Explore and apply wills, probates and administration procedures

School: 650T Vocational Business Education

Campus: City Campus

Program: C6141 - Advanced Diploma of Legal Practice

Course Contact: Robert Sheen

Course Contact Phone: +61 3 9925 5759

Course Contact Email:

Name and Contact Details of All Other Relevant Staff

 Roz Curnow



Nominal Hours: 50

Regardless of the mode of delivery, represent a guide to the relative teaching time and student effort required to successfully achieve a particular competency/module. This may include not only scheduled classes or workplace visits but also the amount of effort required to undertake, evaluate and complete all assessment requirements, including any non-classroom activities.

Pre-requisites and Co-requisites


Course Description

This unit describes the skills and knowledge required to apply the rules and provisions for areas of wills and deceased estates in order to provide specialised support of the work of a legal office, practice or associated context.

This unit supports the work of personnel engaged in the operation of a legal office or associated fields within public and/or corporate sectors.

National Codes, Titles, Elements and Performance Criteria

National Element Code & Title:

VU21639 Explore and apply wills, probates and administration procedures


1. Explore and apply the procedure for drafting and execution of wills

Performance Criteria:

1.1 Identify and describe the law applicable to the validity of wills and practical considerations arising from that law 1.2 Research and describe the considerations exercised by the Registrar of Probates in relation to admitting or objecting to a form of a will 1.3 Evaluate the functions of the following specialist areas: • delegation of will making power • revocation and amendment of wills • incorporation by reference republication and revival • purpose and operation of secret trusts 1.4 Outline and evaluate the alternative procedures for drafting a simple will, including: • taking instructions • ambiguous clauses • proper description of real and personal property • description of charities • appointment of executors • creation of testamentary trusts 1.5 Evaluate and practice the procedures for assessing a will and for handling objections to the validity of the will and codicil, including diagnosis, correction and removal of errors


2. Analyse and apply provisions relating to caveats

Performance Criteria:

2.1 Investigate the meaning, forms and effects of caveats and analyse for application to practice 2.2 Identify the necessary content of a caveat, including the basis of claim, and apply the procedure 2.3 Examine the probate jurisdiction of the Supreme Court 2.4 Specify and apply the procedure for the commencement of proceedings, including the appropriate forms and documents 2.5 Examine and analyse a particular example or case study, outlining the principles of drafting a will and the handling of objections to the validity of the will and codicil. 2.6 Produce a draft of a will and codicil


3. Identify and apply procedures for family provision claims

Performance Criteria:

3.1 Research, describe and discuss the Family Provision claims, including situations that give rise to claims 3.2 Research and debate the effect of an order on a will 3.3 Outline and apply the procedure to make a claim for family provision under Part IV of Administration and Probate Act, 1958


4. Evaluate and apply the law relating to the distribution of intestate estates

Performance Criteria:

4.1 Examine and apply the provisions of the Administration and Probate Act relating to distribution of intestate estates 4.2 Define and apply the clauses for effectiveness 4.3 Compare and contrast the differences between classes of estates and analyse their application to the distribution of intestate estates


5. Investigate and assess the powers, duties, and obligations of executors and trustees in relation to the administration of deceased estates

Performance Criteria:

5.1 Evaluate and identify the law relating to powers, duties and obligations of both executors and trustees in relation to the administration of deceased estates 5.2 Outline the practical considerations in the administration of deceased estates 5.3 Research and discuss the effects of an executor failing to perform


6. Follow procedures to obtain probate of a will or letters of administration

Performance Criteria:

6.1 Identify and describe the terms Probate and Administration are defined and the general considerations and use of power in Probate Applications and Letters of Administration 6.2 Research and discuss the impact and implications of the power that Probate or Administration gives an executor or administrator, including the application Power from Probate and Power from Letters of Administration 6.3 Outline the procedure for obtaining a grant of probate or administration, with consideration of: advertising; searching; affidavits; the order, and the probate application/order for probate 6.4 Determine the impact and implications of the power that 'Probate' or 'Administration' give an Executor or Administrator

Learning Outcomes


Details of Learning Activities

A range of learning activities are planned for this course including self-paced and collaborative classroom-based activities.

The self-paced activities will be delivered through various technology platforms and may include your contribution to wikis and discussion threads, reflective journals, quizzes and interactive sessions.

The collaborative classroom-based activities will include group discussions, group problem-solving activities and opportunities to practice your skills in a simulated/real workplace environment.

We expect you to participate and contribute in all scheduled learning activities.

Teaching Schedule

Induction Session

Prior to training commencement a program level induction session will be conducted that comprises the following:

  • Program overview and requirements
  • MyRMIT/Canvas
  • Overview of assessment requirements
  • Pre-Training Review including:
    • Recognition of Prior Learning and Credit Transfers
    • Assessment of current skills and knowledge
  • Competency/Grading Criteria
  • Plagiarism
  • Appeals
  • Extensions
  • Feedback
  • Privacy
  • Submission requirements
  • Resubmission policy
  • Where to get support
  • Student responsibilities 

 The Teaching Schedule for this course is as follows. (Please note that this schedule is subject to change)

Course schedule





Readings and Activities


Week 1 – 8 July

Introduction to the law of succession

Reading: Mackie text chapter 1 

Activity: Drafting wills and Enduring Powers of Attorney.

Introduction to client files

Week 2 – 15 July

General nature of Wills

Reading: Mackie text chapter 2 and, also, chapter 16 on Survivorship.

Client file 1 Part A (Assignment 1) Instructions for letter to client and Will 1

Week 3 – 22 July

Will-making capacity

Reading: Mackie text chapter 3. 


Week 4 – 29 July


Formal requirements of Will making, revocation and alteration of Wills 

Reading: Mackie text chapters 5,6 and 7. 



Week 5 – 5 August

Rectification of Wills and Statutory Wills

Reading: Mackie text chapters 2 and 4

Assignment 1 – (Part A) - Letter + first Will due

Week 6 – 12 August

Construction of wills

Reading: Mackie text chapter 8

Client file 1 Part B (Assignment 2) Instructions for second Will re file 1

Week 7 – 19 August

Gifts by Wills

 Reading: chapter 9 Mackie text.


 Week 8 – 26 August

Family Provision part 1

Reading: Mackie text  chapter 11.



2 - 6 September (both inclusive)

Week 9 – 9 September

Family Provision part 2

Reading: Mackie text chapter 11.


Week 10 – 16 September

Intestacy and distribution on intestacy

Reading: Mackie text chapter 10, but intestacy provisions of APA amended after text published

Assignment 2 – (Part B)  -Letter + 2nd Will due

Client file 2 (Assignment 3)

Instructions final Probate documents deceased Estate

Week 11 – 23 September

Appointment of Personal Representatives and Grants of Representation

Reading: Mackie text chapters 12 & 13. 


Week 12 – 30 September

Duties of Personal Representatives 
Assistance with probate documents

Reading: Mackie text chapters 14 & 15. 

Activity:  Help with probate documents for assessment 3


Week 13 – 7 October



Case studies for Assessment 4


Assignment 3

Probate notice due

Originating Motion, Affidavit, Inventory + Parchment deceased estate due

Week 14 (14/10/2019) to week 16 (28/10/2019)




Week 15




Assessment 4 Due

Final test case study problems - 2 hours plus reading time – open book 

Week 16




Week 17




The nominal hours associated with this are a guide only and represent the total teaching time and student effort required to successfully complete this course.  This may include not only scheduled classes but also the amount of effort required to undertake, evaluate and complete all assessment requirements, including any non-classroom activities.   


Learning Resources

Prescribed Texts


 Principles of Australian Succession Law by Ken Mackie 3rd edition LexisNexis - Butterworths

Other Resources

Overview of Assessment

Critical aspects for assessment and evidence required to demonstrate competency in this unit

In order to demonstrate competency in this unit, you must provide evidence of:

• knowledge of wills and probate relating to validity of wills, drafting procedures and execution of wills
• interpreting the key principles of wills and probate law
• examining legal procedures to make a claim for family provisions
• researching and analysing law relating to the distribution of intestate estates
• investigating the administration of deceased estates
• obtaining a grant of probate and letters of administration

Context for assessment

Assessment must ensure:

• activities are related to a legal practice context
• activities are related to laws, regulations and procedures currently operating across the jurisdictions relevant to this qualification

You are advised that you are likely to be asked to personally demonstrate your assessment work to your teacher to ensure that the relevant competency standards are being met.


Feedback will be provided throughout the semester in class and/or online discussions. You are encouraged to ask and answer questions during class time and online sessions so that you can obtain feedback on your understanding of the concepts and issues being discussed.

You should take note of all feedback received and use this information to improve your learning effectiveness and final performance in the course.

Finally, you can email or arrange an appointment with your teacher to gain more feedback on your progress.

Assessment Tasks

 You are required to complete the following assessment tasks:


Assessment Task 1 and 2

For this assessment task you will work on a simulated client file. You will be required to draft and submit a letter to the client and prepare and enclose (a) a simple Will ready for signing; and, subsequently, (b) a more complicated Will and letter of advice - (Part (a) is due week 5 and Part (b) is due week 10).

Assessment Task 3

For this assessment you will work on a second client file. You will be required to draft and submit the relevant probate documents in respect of a deceased estate with the Probate Notice and final probate documents (due week 13).

Assessment Task 4

For this assessment task you will be required to undertake an in-class 2 hour (plus reading time) open book case study problems under test conditions scheduled for week 14. You will undertake the assessment during your scheduled class time.

You must successfully complete all the assessment tasks to be deemed competent

Assessment Matrix

The assessment matrix that maps all the assessment is available on CANVAS 

Other Information



Submission Requirements


You should:


  • Ensure that you submit assessments on or before the due date. 
  • Always retain a copy of your assessment tasks. (hard copy and soft copy)
  • When you submit work for assessment at RMIT University you need to use the Assessment task document that includes a declaration and statement of authorship.
  • Each page of your assessment should include a footer with your name, student number, the title of the assessment, unit code and title and page numbers.

Late Submission Procedures

You are required to submit assessment items and/or ensure performance based assessment is completed by the due dates.

If you are prevented from submitting an assessment item on time, by circumstances outside your control, you may apply in advance to your teacher for an extension to the due date of up to seven calendar days.

More Information

Where an extension of greater than seven days is needed, you must apply for Special Consideration.  You must submit your application within five working days after your assessment date or due date.

More Information:

Resubmissions (VET Programs):

If you are found to be unsuccessful (Not satisfactory/Unsatisfactory) in a Course Assessment Task you will be allowed one resubmission.  Your teacher will provide feedback regarding what you need to do to improve and will set a new deadline for the resubmission. 

If you are still not meeting the assessment requirements you must apply to your Program Manager in writing outlining the steps you will take to demonstrate competence in your course. Your submission will be considered by the Program Team and you will be advised of the outcome as soon as possible.

Adjustments to Assessment

In certain circumstances students may be eligible for an assessment adjustment. For more information about the circumstances under which the assessment arrangements might be granted please access the following website:


Final Results


You must demonstrate that you have all the required skills/knowledge/elements in the unit of competency you are studying.


You will receive feedback on each assessment task that will inform you about your progress and how well you are performing.


The following grades are available for this course:



Competency Achieved



Not Yet Competent



Did Not Submit for Assessment



Course Overview: Access Course Overview