We know the terminology used during the Will writing process can be confusing so we've created a guide to common words, terms and phrases.
Assets - Items in your estate that have value, such as property, bank accounts or investments.
Beneficiary – A person or charity that receives a gift from your Will.
Bequest – A gift left in a Will, usually used for specific items, often sentimental value.
Chattels – Your personal effects
Codicil – A document that adds to, or amends or even revokes your Will. It must be witnessed and satisfy all the requirements as if it were a Will. In most cases, if you need to make changes to your Will, it is better to write a new one.
Dependants – Anyone who is dependent on you for financial support or care e.g. children, the elderly and sick relatives.
Discretionary Trust – A trust where trustees have full power to decide when and which members of a group of beneficiaries are to benefit.
Domicile – Typically, the person’s domicile is their country of birth, however, a number of factors may be used to determine this at death.
Estate – All things owned in your name such as your car, money, investments etc.
Executor – The person who will carry out the instructions of the Will.
Grant of Probate – Confirmation of an executor’s power to administer the estate.
Guardian – A person who is legally responsible for a child under 18 years of age.
Inheritance Tax – A tax that may need to be paid from your estate before being distributed to your beneficiaries.
Intestacy – What happens to your estate when you die without leaving a Will.
Issue – All living direct bloodline descendants.
Joint Tenancy – A way of holding property between more than one person so it may pass between them.
Lasting Power of Attorney – A legal document allowing you to appoint someone to handle your affairs if you lose the capacity to do so yourself.
Legacy – Alternative name for a gift given in the Will (a bequest), this is normally used for gifts of money.
Legatee – Someone who receives the legacy.
Living Will – Also known as an Advanced Decision / Directive. An order which allows you to indicate whether or not you wish to refuse some or all forms of medical treatment if you lose mental capacity in the future.
Nil-rate Band – The amount of your estate that is taxed at 0% for Inheritance Tax.
Per Stirpes – “By the branch” a term ensuring a beneficiary’s gift from a Will passes to their children if he or she dies before you.
Probate – The process of administrating your estate when you die.
Residue – The amount left over in your estate after taxes and debts have been paid, and all gifts have been given. A clause in the Will allows you to nominate who receives some or all of the residue.
Tenants in Common – A way of holding property with one or more people that allows you to gift your share in your Will.
Testator – The person creating the Will.
Trust – The passing of control of one or more of your assets to be managed by a person you trust for your beneficiaries.
Trustee – A person who manages the trust fund.
Vested Interest – A person who meets all of the conditions of a gift and is absolutely entitled to it will attain a vested interest.
Ward of Court – Children who are orphaned and have no guardian appointed to them are made “Wards of Court”, and the courts will decide what happens to them.
Witnesses – Two people must view the signing of the Will by the Testator. Legally, they must be sighted and of sound mind, and they cannot be a blood relative of the testator, a beneficiary or the spouse of a beneficiary. However, there is no requirement for them to actually read the document.
For more information please call us 01299 549540 or go to our website www.thewillwritinggroup.co.uk