Glossary of legal terms

Things in your estate that have value such as properties, accounts and investments
The signing and witnessing of a Will.
A person appointed via a Lasting Power of Attorney to manage the finances or health decisions of a person who is unable to manage the same for themselves.
The person or charity or organisation that receives an inheritance from a Will or an interest in the funds of a trust.
A gift given in a Will, money or possessions, but not land or property.
Personal effects. This is defined by law and generally means cars, clothing, jewellery, etc. It does not include houses, land, bank accounts and business assets.
Anybody who is dependent on you for care or financial support, e.g. spouse, children, elderly or ill relatives
A person’s domicile is typically their country of birth but may be determined on their death by a number of factors. This may impact on any inheritance tax paid on your estate
Everything you own in your name including property, car, personal effects, cash and investments
The person (s) appointed in the Will to administer the estate and ensure the provisions of the Will are carried out.
This confirms that an Executor has the power to administer the estate.
A person who is legally responsible for caring for a child under the age of 18 (16 in Scotland).
Tax your estate needs to pay before distribution of your assets to your beneficiaries
A term are used to describe when a person dies without leaving a Will. The person is said to be intestate and the situation is intestacy.
This means children, including illegitimate and adopted children but not step-children (unless legally adopted), grandchildren, great grandchildren, etc.
A way of holding property with one or more other person so that it passes automatically between them. It cannot be gifted via the deceased’s Will.
Another name for a gift in a Will, either a bequest or a devise.
Someone who receives a legacy.
Lasting Power of Attorney. A legal document that allows you to appoint someone who looks after your affairs if you’re not able to do so.
The amount of your estate that is taxed at 0% for Inheritance Tax. Currently set at £325,000 per person.
A fixed sum of money given in a Will.
Literally this means ‘by branch’. The gift passes down the branches of the family tree.
This proves the Will is valid and gives the Executor authority to administer the Estate.
This is what’s left after all specific and pecuniary gifts have been given and all debts and taxes have been paid. A Will contains a clause setting out who receives the residue and this is called a residuary legacy.
A way of holding property with one or more other person that allows you to gift your share in your Will
The person (male) who makes the Will.
The female form of Testator.
A legal arrangement for passing control of assets to be managed by a appointed trustee for your beneficiaries.
Somebody who manages the trust fund
When a person meets all the conditions of a gift and is absolutely entitled to it, they attain a vested interest.
The two people who sign the Will to confirm that the person making it has signed it. Legally they must be sighted, of sound mind, they must witness the signature together and generally mustn’t be beneficiaries or married to a beneficiary or blood relatives of the Testator.