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Jargon-buster – Probate law

Administrator – the person selected to manage the deceased’s affairs and estate, should they have died without making a Will. The Rules of Intestacy specify who the Administrators can be.

Affidavit – a written statement made under oath.

Assets – things in the Estate of value e.g. property, land, savings, investments and family heirlooms.

Beneficiary – a person who will inherit something from the deceased’s Will.

Bequeath – to bequeath is to leave money or property to a Beneficiary.

Bequest – a gift of property in a Will.

Codicil – a document that makes minor changes to an existing Will.

The Crown – another term for the government. The Crown will inherit your estate if you die without making a Will and have no close living relatives.

Estate – your estate is a collective term for the assets that you own independently. Assets you own jointly may pass to the joint owner.

Executor – the the person(s) appointed inthe Will to manage and administer your estate.

Grant of Probate – the document which is issued to the executor(s) to give them legal authority to administer the deceased’s estate.

Guardian – the person chosen to look after any children under the age of 18 in the event of their parent’s death.

Inheritance tax – tax payable on the deceased’s estate.

Intestate – the term used when someone dies without a valid Will.

Lasting Power of Attorney – an LPA is a document in which you appoint a person called an attorney to manage you financial and property affairs / personal welfare decisions should you become unable to do so.

Life interest trust – a life interest trust is for the benefit of a beneficiary to receive income from the trust fund for their life, and then when they die for other beneficiaries to receive the capital from the trust fund. It is also known as an interest in possession.

Nil Rate Band – the inheritance tax threshold. It is the term used to describe the value an estate can have before it is taxed.

Probate – the legal progress required to administer the assets of a person who has died.

Residuary beneficiary – the person named in a Will to receive the remainder of the estate, after all debts have been paid and all other beneficiaries have received their inheritance.

Residue – this is the term given to the part of an estate left once all debts and legacies have been paid.

Rules of Intestacy – if someone dies without making a Will, these rules apply. They will decide who will manage and administer the estate, and who will inherit what from the deceased’s estate.

Substitute beneficiary – a person named in a Will to inherit the gift should the first named beneficiary die before the testator.

Testator – the person making the Will. Testatrix is the female equivalent.

Trust – this is a legal arrangement where one or more people (up to four) are made legally responsible for the assets left to the beneficiaries. A trust is usually needed when naming children under the age of 18 as beneficiaries. Trusts usually expire once certain events occur or conditions are met.

Trustee – the name given to the person who is in charge of managing and administering the Trust. This typically involves looking after the property and/or assets for the beneficiaries until they are old enough to manage it themselves.

Will – a legal document where a person explains what they would like to happen to their estate after they die.

Witness – someone who signs the Will to confirm they have seen the Testator sign it.