Course Title: Wills, probate and administration

Part B: Course Detail

Teaching Period: Term1 2016

Course Code: LAW5192

Course Title: Wills, probate and administration

School: 650T Vocational Business Education

Campus: City Campus

Program: C6106 - Advanced Diploma of Legal Practice

Course Contact: Doug Gourlay

Course Contact Phone: +61 3 9925 5944

Course Contact Email:

Name and Contact Details of All Other Relevant Staff

Paul Ryan co-ordinator

Building 80,Level 5
Phone:  9925 5466

Judith Dredge, sessional teacher

Nominal Hours: 51

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

Pre-requisites:  VU20111 Legal Process

Course Description

The purpose of the module is to provide and develop specialised skills in particular areas of Wills and Deceased Estates as might be desired for a person engaged in the operation of a legal office, or associated fields in the public or corporate sectors.

National Codes, Titles, Elements and Performance Criteria

National Element Code & Title:

VU20116 Wills, probate and administration



Performance Criteria:


Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion of this course you will be able to:

Learning Outcome 1 - Evaluate and outline the procedure for drafting and execution of wills and identify the possible objections to the validity of wills and codicils, and apply to a relevant case study.
Assessment criteria
1.1 Analyse the law applicable to the validity of wills and identify the practical considerations arising from that law.
1.2 Determine and analyse 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 alternatives for the procedure for drafting a simple will.
       • Taking instructions
       • Ambiguous clauses
       • Proper description of real and personal property
       • Description of charities
       • Appointment of executors
       • Creation of testamentary trusts
1.5 Assess and determine a particular example or case study pertaining to the drafting of a will and the handling of objections to the validity of the will and codicil. Include the following elements:
      • Diagnose and analyse drafting errors
      • Generate ideas for correcting and removing drafting errors
      • Use conceptual drafting skills in a small group environment

Learning Outcome 2 - Analyse the specialised nature, form and effect of a caveat in the Probate jurisdiction of the Supreme Court, and apply to a relevant case study.
Assessment criteria
2.1 Investigate, define and determine the applications of Caveats. Include the following:
       • Form of caveat
       • Meaning of caveat
       • Effect of caveat
2.2 Analyse the necessary content of a caveat and to include the basis of claim and the procedure.
2.3 Specify the procedure for the commencement of proceedings, and the appropriate forms and documents.
2.4 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.
2.5 Produce a draft of a will and codicil.

Learning Outcome 3 - Identify and analyse situations giving rise to family provision claims (formerly under the Testators family maintenance provisions) and employ the legal procedures necessary to make a claim for adequate provision by a person for whom the deceased had a responsibility to make provision.
Assessment criteria
3.1 Identify and analyse Family Provision claims.
3.2 Analyse the effect of an order on a will.
3.3 Outline the procedure to make a claim for family provision under Part IV of Administration and Probate Act, 1958.
3.4 Analyse a particular example or case study identifying Family Provision, and the legal procedure to make a claim.

Learning Outcome 4 - Demonstrate how the law relating to the distribution of intestate estates, can be applied to a relevant case study.
Assessment criteria
4.1 Demonstrate and evaluate the provisions of the Administration and Probate Act.
4.2 Define, analyse and state the clauses for effectiveness.
4.3 Define and differentiate between classes of Estates.
4.4 Examine a particular case study demonstrating the law relating to the distribution of intestate estates identified in 4.1, and between classes of Estates identified in 4.3

Learning Outcome 5 - Investigate and assess the powers, duties, and obligations of Executors and Trustees in relation to the administration of deceased estates, and demonstrate in a relevant case study.
Assessment criteria
5.1 Evaluate and identify the appropriate laws relating to executors, and trustees, and discuss with reference to a relevant example. These include:
      • Executors Powers, Duties and Obligations
      • Trustees Powers, Duties and Obligations
5.2 Outline the practical considerations in the administration of deceased estates. ’
5.3 Specify the effects of an Executor failing to perform.
5.4 Analyse and apply the laws relating to executors and trustees as specified in 5.1 to a particular case study.

Learning Outcome 6 - Produce and employ completed documentation and procedures to obtain Probate of a will or Letters of Administration, and ascertain the power that ‘Probate’ or ‘Administration’ gives an executor or Administrator.
Assessment criteria
6.1 Analyse and define ‘Probate’ or ‘Administration’, and report on general considerations and the use of power in Probate Applications and Letters of Administration.
6.2 Identify and assess the power that ‘Probate’ or ‘Administration’ gives an executor or administrator including Power from Probate and Power from Letters of Administration.
6.3 Specify how a Probate or Administration is obtained. Consider and analyse the following steps:
      • Advertising
      • Searching
      • Affidavits
      • The order
      • The probate application/order for probate
      • The application for Letters of Administration
6.4 Determine the impact and implications of the power that ‘Probate’ or ‘Administration’ gives an Executor or Administrator.

Details of Learning Activities

A range of learning experiences are planned for this course including class and online activities, group problem solving and group debates.

Teaching Schedule

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

• Program overview and requirements
• MyRMIT/Blackboard
• Overview of assessment requirements
• Pre-Training Review including:
  o Recognition of Prior Learning and Credit Transfers
  o 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 nominal hours associated with this course are a guide only and represent the total teaching time and student effort required to successfully complete the 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.




Assessment Tasks

1 12 Feb

Introduction to the Course including:
• Course requirements
• Course support documents
• Course Blackboard access
• Accuracy of enrolment
• Assessment requirements/Cover Sheets
• Plagiarism
• Appeals
• Submission requirements
• Extensions/Resubmissions
• Feedback in this course
• Getting help

Introduction to the law of succession

 Instructions client files
219 Feb  General nature of Wills Instructions for Will file 1
326 Feb

 Will-making capacity


44 MarchFormal requirements of Will making & revocation and alteration of Wills  
511 March Rectification of Wills and Statutory Wills Letter + Will 1 due (12 marks)
618 March

 Construction of Wills &Gifts by Wills

 Instructions for deceased estate (file 2)

7 Mid semester/Easter break effectively 24 March - 30 March
Thursday 31/3 & Friday 1 April
Teacher Professional Dev.
88 April Family provision part 1 
 Probate advert due (5 marks) 
915 April

  Family Provision part 2 

1022 April

 Intestacy and distribution on intestacy

Letter + 2nd Will due (18 marks)

1129 April

 Appointment of Personal Representatives and Grants of Representation

Repeat instructions final probate documents deceased Estate

126 May

 Practical Placement + help with deceased Estate probate documents


1313 May

 Practical Placement + help with deceased Estate probate documents

1420  May

 Duties of Personal Representatives

 Originating Motion, Affidavit, Inventory + Parchment deceased estate due (20 marks)
1527 May Scheduled date for Final Test  (45 marks)Class Test 45 marks 2 hours open book plus reading time
16 4 June Possible alternate date for Final test - student classes to decide date If requested completed files, as corrected t Paul for final assessment

Learning Resources

Prescribed Texts

 Principles of Australian Succession Law by Ken Mackie 2nd ed LexisNexis- Butterworths


Recommended reference texts: • Law of Succession Dal Pont and K F Mackie LexisNexis Butterworths
• Wills Probate & Administration Service Victoria Butterworths Boaden Collins Phillips and Sparke De Groots Wills Probate & Administration Practice Victoria
• Hutley's Australian Wills Precedents 7th ed Butterworths
• The Australian Encyclopaedia of Forms and Precedents Third Edition Volume 15 Wills
• Wills and Intestacy in Australia and New Zealand Second Edition Law Book Co. 1989 Hardingham Neave and Ford
• Succession Law: Commentary & Materials Butterworths 1996 Atherton and Vines
• Succession, Families, Property and Death 3rd edition Butterworths Croucher + Vines
• Succession Commentary and Materials 5th edition LBC Hutley, Woodman and Wood
• The Law of Succession in NSW Certoma 3rd edition LBC

Other Resources

It is recommended that you have access to a mobile computing device to allow greater flexibility in terms of where you can work on campus outside class times.

Important legislation:
• Wills Act 1997
• Administration and Probate Act 1958
• Trustee Act 1958

Overview of Assessment

Assessment methods have been designed to measure achievement of the requirements in a flexible manner over a range of assessment tasks and may include:

• case study analysis
• short answers questions
• written assignments/reports/tests
• oral presentations
• projects

Students are advised that they are likely to be asked to personally demonstrate their assessment work to their teacher to ensure that the relevant module standards are being met.

Assessment Tasks

To pass this course, you need to demonstrate you are competent to the industry standard as required of a paralegal. To achieve this, you must complete all assessments to an acceptable industry standard.

You will be assessed against your skills and knowledge and will receive feedback on each assessment task that will inform you whether you have performed to industry standard or not and how well you are performing.

To demonstrate achievement of the learning outcomes in this course the following evidence is essential:

• 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

Assessment Task 1 -  Client file 1 drafting and submitting letter to client enclosing relatively simple Will for signing (due week 5 – 12 marks and, subsequently, drafting letter to client enclosing more complicated Will for signing (due week 10 – 18 marks).
Due Dates: As above to be handed to teacher in class

Submission Procedure: Hand to teacher in class

The purpose of this assessment is to introduce students to drafting wills and being able to explain to clients the purpose of the will clauses and the signing procedure.

Assessment Task 2 -  Client file 2 drafting and submitting Probate documents in respect of a deceased estate with the Probate Notice due in week 8 (5 marks) and final probate documents due in week 14 (20 marks).
Submission Procedure: Hand to teacher in class

The purpose of this assessment is to introduce students to the drafting of documents for a grant of representation

Assessment Task 3 - in class open book test (45 marks) 2 hours plus reading time
Due Date:
Week 15 (subject to variation)

The purpose of this assessment is to test students’ ability to apply their knowledge of wills, probate and administration to typical facts situations.


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

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

Assessment Matrix

Marking Guide:

Grades received throughout semester are only indicative of your performance. These grades will only contribute to your final grade if you complete all assessments to an acceptable industry standard. If students cannot demonstrate competency across all learning outcomes or elements of the course the maximum grade they can achieve is NN. If students fail to submit one or more pieces of assessment, the maximum grade available is DNS.

Please refer to the Final Grades table below:

80-100HDHigh Distinction
DNSDNSDid Not Submit for assessment












Further information regarding the application of the grading criteria will be provided by your teacher.

Other Information

Submission Requirements

You should:
• Ensure that you submit assessments on or before the due date:
   • If your performance in the assessment is affected by unexpected circumstances, you should consider applying for extensions of time. (Please refer to the information in the Late Submission Procedure section below)
   • If you have a long term medical condition and/or disability it may be possible to negotiate to vary aspects of the learning or assessment methods. You can contact the program manager or the Disability Liaison Unit if you would like to find out more.
• 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 a cover sheet that includes a declaration
and statement of authorship. You must complete, sign and submit a cover sheet with all work you submit for
assessment, whether individual or group work. On the cover sheet you declare that the work you are presenting for
assessment is your own work. An assignment cover sheet for submission of work for assessment is available on
• 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.

Reassessment policy
Students who achieve an indicative grade of greater than 50%, yet have not demonstrated competency across all learning outcomes will be given the opportunity to undertake an oral questioning with the assessor in which they will be required to demonstrate competence in the elements or learning outcomes not yet demonstrated. If students cannot demonstrate competency across all learning outcomes or elements of the course the maximum grade they can achieve is NN or Not Yet Competent.

Late Submission Procedures

If you are prevented from submitting an assessment on time, by circumstances outside your control, you must apply in advance for an extension to the due date of up to seven calendar days.
  More Information:
  Form to use:

Where an extension of greater than seven days is needed, you must apply for special consideration. Applications for special consideration must be submitted no later than two working days after the assessment task deadline or scheduled examination.
More Information:;ID=g43abm17hc9w (unresolved)
Form to use:

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:
More Information:;ID=kehn9bz22r41 (unresolved)

Course Overview: Access Course Overview