Good precedents save lives. Okay… so perhaps that is a tiny bit dramatic.

But I do believe that one of the keys to a happy career as an estate planning lawyer is excellent testamentary trust precedents.

Quality precedents will save you so much time, freeing you up for the things that matter.

Like marketing, delighting clients, that big pile of reading on your desk, or spending more time with your loved ones.

I also know that choosing your precedents is a very personal decision.  It’s the same as buying your undies – you need to be 100% comfortable!

Plus it’s a big investment to change precedents, to update your systems and processes to accommodate the new templates.

Here’s my checklist for the Gold Standard testamentary trust precedent:

  • Establishes one or more testamentary trusts on the testator’s death (obviously!)
  • Easy for the client & their advisers to understand
  • Includes drafting notes to include or exclude foreign persons as beneficiaries (bonus points if the precedent establishes a special purpose trust which excludes foreign persons – mine does, and it has received a private ruling from Revenue NSW as being eligible for the relevant land tax and stamp duty exemptions)
  • Addresses Foreign Investment Review Board approval on residential property
  • Grants sufficient powers relating to digital assets and digital accounts (I paid a social media lawyer thousands to draft her “best practice” clauses for my simple will, TT will and power of attorney templates)
  • Contains executor discretion to establish a superannuation proceeds trust
  • Includes trustee powers which satisfy financier requirements
  • Sets out appropriate discretionary beneficiary classes, with the ability to add and remove beneficiaries
  • Contains extensive succession mechanisms for controllers (i.e. trustees, appointors, principals)
  • Has a broad variation power (and no risk of invalid variations to schedules etc)
  • Includes extensive tax powers and definitions following the Bamford decision
  • Includes appropriate income and capital distribution (and default clauses!)
  • Grants the trustee an indemnity over the trust assets
  • Includes a power permitting the trustee to delegate
  • Includes controller protections such as automatic disqualifications on triggering events like death, incapacity, bankruptcy/insolvency and relationship breakdown

Obviously the precedents you purchase from The Art of Estate Planning tick every box.  You also get:

  • Integrations with LEAP, Actionstep (and soon to be Smokeball) – these integrations will save you so much time.  But  they precedents are easy to use even if you aren’t using one of these practice management systems
  • A training video library with demonstration videos for using the precedents and answering FAQs
  • An extensive clause library relating to specific gifts and appointment of executors, guardians, trustees
  • Free updates to the precedent while you are a member of The TT Precedents Club

Interested in finding out more? You can watch a demonstration video here.

If you have any questions, please get in touch.