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Wills ^& Probate

Legal Terms

Some common legal terms explained

Administrator:
The person(s) appointed to distribute an estate if someone dies without a valid Will or where a Will does not appoint executor(s) or where the appointed executor(s) in a Will are unable or unwilling to act. The person may also be referred to as a Personal Representative.

Beneficiary:
A beneficiary is someone who is left something by the person making the will or is entitled to share an estate in accordance with  the Rules of Intestacy. Sometimes beneficaries are also referred to as legatees.

Bequest:
A term sometimes used instead of legacy. It is used to describe a gift in a Will. A conditional bequest is a bequest that will be granted only if a particular event occurs.  For example, a person might write in their will that “Sarah  will receive the house held in trust if she is married.

Codicil:
A separate document to a Will amending the terms of an existing Will. It is supplement to a Will,  containing additions or modification to a clause in a Will.

Estate:
Estate is used to describe everything a persons owns including property held in sole or joint names,  any bank accounts, insurance policies, foreign property,  car, shares etc. at the time of death.  After payment of debts and liabitites the Estate is divided according to the Will . If there is no Will the estate will be distributed in accordance with the Rules of Intestacy.

Executor:
Is a person appointed in a Will  to ensure that the terms of the Will are carried out.

Inquest:
A public enquiry which is held in connection with the circumstances surrounding a persons death where that death has been because of unnatural causes.

Intestacy:
When a person dies without a valid they are said to be intestate. The persons estate will be distributed according to the Rules of Intestacy.

Intestate:
A person who dies without making a valid Will is deemed to have died intestate.

Legacy:
A gift under the terms of a will, also referred to as a bequest.

Letters of Administration:
Official acknowledgement by the Court of the appointment of administrators. Also called a grant.

Pecuniary Legacy:
A fixed sum of money given in a Will.

Personal Representative:
Generic term for executor and administrator.

Probate/Grant of Probate:
Official confirmation by the Court of the validity of a Will and the executors named in it. This documents will be required to transfer property and obtain funds in bank accounts.

Residuary Beneficiary:
The person(s) who receive what remains of an estate after all other legacies, liabilities, tax and expenses have been paid.

Residue:
The residue of your estate is all that is left to be distributed after you have made provision for  liabilities, tax and  specific beneficiaries in your Will. It is an important clause in a Will .

Specific Bequest:
A gift of a particular item in a Will.

Testate:
A person who dies having made a valid Will is said to have died testate.

Testator/Testatrix:
The person making a Will. Testator -male, Testatrix -female.


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