Bachelor of Laws: Wills & Admin of Estates

A comprehensive guide to legal research created by the VU Law Library

An exact copy of the last will and testament, of Sir Thomas Gresham, Kt Fleuron T033614-2

Last will and testament, of Sir Thomas Gresham. 1579.

A written declaration providing for disposition of property to take effect on the maker’s death... View Definition
(Encyclopaedic Australian Legal Dictionary, 2021)

The person appointed by a testator to manage, administer, direct, and dispose of property under the will... View Definition
(Encyclopaedic Australian Legal Dictionary, 2021)

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How to Use This Guide


  • Use a dictionary to look up definitions of any words or phrases in an assessment that you are unfamiliar with


  • Look-up any legislation relevant to the assessment question

 Loose-leaf Service 

  • Check the loose-leaf services to see if they provide any commentary on the assessment topic.  Loose-leaf services typically:
    • provide detailed and up-to-date discussion of legal issues
    • include annotations (explanatory notes) to the provisions of relevant legislation

 Case Law 

  • Look up relevant case law identified by the secondary sources or the assessment question
  • Use a case citator to find judicial consideration of relevant legislation


  • Check a legal encyclopaedia for discussion of the assessment topic.  A legal encyclopaedia typically:
    • provides a concise overview
    • covers all Australian jurisdictions

 Journal Articles 

  • Check to see if the issues raised in the assessment have been discussed in journal articles

 Referencing Guides  

  • Use the guides to reference all sources correctly

Wills and Admin of Estates - Dictionary Definitions


The Encyclopaedic Australian Legal Dictionary provides definitions of legal words and phrases, and gives explanations of well known rules and principles of law.

It contains over 25000 definitions.

The dictionary is a secondary source, but it frequently refers to primary sources such as case law and legislation, as authorities for the definitions that it provides.

It can be helpful to look up definitions of any words or phrases in an assessment that you are unfamiliar with.

Wills Probate and Administration Victoria (Lexis+)

 Loose-leaf Service 

This loose-leaf service provides the first comprehensive guide to all aspects of wills and estate administration in Victoria. It contains up-to-date legislation and practical commentary. Major legislation incorporates useful annotations on practice and procedural requirements. Commentary covers wills law and practice, intestacy, uncontested probate applications, contested probate applications, family provision, estate administration, solicitor’s duties, estate planning and costs and fees. Precedent clauses for wills with commentary and examples of completed wills are also included.

 How to Reference a Loose-leaf Service 

Lawyers Practice Manual - Victoria

 Loose-leaf Service 

Provides practical guidance. Includes practical hints, precedents, letters, standard forms, and checklists.

 How to Reference a Loose-leaf Service 


Australian Encyclopaedia of Forms and Precedents

 Loose-leaf Service 
Practical introductory notes for each title provide an overview of each subject area to explain the legal context in which the individual forms, precedents and clauses should be used. Statutory sources and case references are included. Precedents are drafted in plain English, by experienced practitioners, barristers and academics.

 How to Reference a Loose-leaf Service 

CCH Australian Estate Planning

 Loose-leaf Service 

CCH is a legal publisher that produces a collection of law resources.

 How to Reference a Loose-leaf Service 

Finding Journal Articles

 Journal Articles 

AGIS (Attorney Generals Information Service) - is the leading legal journals database in Australia.  Use AGIS to search hundreds of journals for articles about Will and Administration of Estates. 

 How to Reference a Journal Article 


Legislation and Extrinsic Materials


TimeBase LawOne provides access to full text legislation from nine Australian jurisdictions, links through to amending and subordinate legislation, Bills, Explanatory Memoranda and Second Reading Speeches, and detailed legislative histories. 

Extrinsic materials, including Explanatory Memoranda and Second Reading Speeches, may be helpful when researching particular provisions of an Act.  This video demonstrates how to use the Key Info button in TimeBase LawOne to locate and view extrinsic materials.

 How to Reference an Act 

Finding Cases that Consider a Section of an Act

 Case Law 

To provide judicial consideration of a particular provision of legislation:

  1. Access Lexis+ via the A-Z Databases list.
  2. Select Legislation (from the menu under the search box)
  3. Then LawNowPlus Legislation Citator
  4. Search for the legislation by title and provision
  5. From the results click on the title to view the legislation
  6. Select Cases tab to view a list of cases
  7. Select 'Show Lexis Leading Cases' to view the results in relevance order

 How to Reference Case Law 


Laws of Australia - Legal Encyclopaedia - WestlawAU


The Laws of Australia encyclopaedia (TLA) is a complete library of legal principles covering over 330 topics and every Australian jurisdiction. 

 How to Reference a Legal Encyclopaedia 

Halsbury's Laws of Australia - Legal Encyclopaedia - Lexis+


Halsbury's Laws of Australia is a comprehensive legal encyclopaedia.  Halsbury's provides concise statements of the law supported by references to primary authorities contained in detailed footnotes. Halsbury’s is divided into 89 subject areas, known as titles. It can be browsed or searched. Halsbury's also includes a consolidated index. 

Using a legal encyclopedia can be an efficient way to begin researching a topic

 How to Reference a Legal Encyclopaedia