Glossary

Administrator

Someone who is appointed by law to settle your affairs if you die without a Will Beneficiary.

Beneficiary

A person or organisation who receives benefit from a Will or Trust.

Bequest

A gift of an object or cash.

Chattels

Personal belongings like pictures, jewellery, cars and even pets.

Codicil

A change to an existing Will, though nowadays it is easier to make another Will.

Crown

With no Will and no next of kin, the Crown inherits your Estate.

Domicile

Usually the country in which you live; however, if you or your parents were born outside England and Wales, or you intend to live permanently outside England and Wales, you should consider taking legal advice.

Donor

The person making a Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA)

Estate

The assets that you own which can be left under your Will, less any outstanding commitments. There are items which may not be left under your Will (see Joint Property). Most pension provisions are not assets which can be left under the terms of a Will or intestacy.

Executor

A person or company named in a Will to administer your Estate and to be responsible for carrying out the terms of the Will and settling taxes and debts.

Funeral arrangements

Directions you can give in your Will regarding your wishes such as details of your burial, funeral services, etc.

Grant of Probate

A document issued by the Court confirming both the validity of a Will and the Executor’s right to administer the Estate.

Inheritance Tax

A 40% tax payable on larger Estates. (A legacy to a charity is free of Inheritance Tax).

Intestacy

An Estate where there is no Will and the law directs who inherits.

Intestate

Not having a valid Will or a person whom has not made a Will.

Issue

This means your children, their children and so on all the way down the family tree.

Joint Property

Under English Law there are two methods of jointly owning property with another. Under a Beneficial Joint Tenancy the entire property passes to the survivor(s) on a death. Under a Tenancy in Common a person’s share of the property passes under the terms of his/her Will (or on his/her intestacy).

Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA)

A type of Power of Attorney which remains effective even if the person who gives the power later loses their mental capacity.

Legacy

A gift that you wish to leave to a person or organisation upon death.

Letters of Administration

As for a Grant of Probate, but issued to an Administrator.

Minor

A person under 18 years of age.

Mirror Will

A Will that contains almost identical terms to your Will. Many husbands/wives/partners have Mirror Wills where they have decided upon the same beneficiaries, irrespective of which partner dies first.

Probate

The legal process and the document issued to Executors authorising them to administer the Estate. If no Executor has been appointed in a Will then an Administrator is appointed.

Testate

Having a valid Will.

Testator (male)/Testatrix (female)

The person making the Will.

Trust

A written arrangement whereby an appointed Trustee is given money or assets to hold and manage for the benefit of those defined in the Deed which created the Trust.

Trustee

A company, or individuals, appointed in the Trust Deed to hold the Trust assets and to be responsible for the management of a Trust.

Will

A written document, which when properly executed, controls how a person’s assets are to be dealt with after his/her death. If improperly executed the document may not constitute a Will.

Wills in expectation of marriage

If you and your partner intend getting married soon your Will(s) can be made ‘in expectation of your marriage’ which means it/they will be valid before and after the marriage takes place. Marriage would otherwise cancel a Will.

Witness

Two witnesses must be present when you sign your Will. No beneficiary (or their spouse) should sign the Will; if they do then any gift to them or their spouse will be invalid and will fail.