When you start the process of writing your Will you are likely to come across some common legal words and phrases. The below glossary of terms can help you understand what they mean.
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Administrators – The people (usually family members) who will sort out your affairs and estate if you do not make a Will.
Sometimes also known as executors.
Beneficiary – Any organisation or person you leave a gift or property to in your Will.
Bequest – A gift of personal effects/assets when left by Will. Also another word for legacy donations in a Will.
Chattels – Personal property. Real chattels refer to buildings and fixtures. Personal chattels refer to clothes, furniture, etc.
Codicil – A legal document by which a person amends their Will.
Estate – Everything you own at the time of death. This includes property, personal effects such as jewellery and furniture
Executor – A person or persons appointed by you in your Will to carry out the wishes in your Will.
Often family members but can also be legal professionals or solicitors.
Guardians – Persons appointed in a will to look after children in the event of the death of the parents.
Inheritance Tax – A tax on the estate of the deceased person.
Intestate – When a person dies without a valid will
Legacy – Money that has been left in a Will to family, friends or charitable organisations.
Pecuniary legacy – A gift of a fixed amount of money.
Probate – The legal procedure that confirms your Will as valid and authorises your executors to deal with your estate.
Residue – What is left of your estate after all debts and expenses have been deducted and all bequests have been paid (except residuary legacies).
Residuary legacy – A gift consisting of the residue (see above) or part of the residue of an estate.
Specific legacy – A gift of a particular item e.g. jewellery.
Testator – A man who has died leaving a Will.
Testatrix – A woman who has died leaving a Will.
The Crown- The government of a country ruled by a monarch
Trustee – A person who is responsible for any part of your estate left in trust.
Will – A declaration by which a person provides for the distribution of their estate on death sometimes referred to as a testament.