Glossary of legal terms

Administrator

Person who deals with the property of the deceased where no executor has been appointed by a valid will. The administrator will normally have to obtain letters of administration before acting

Advanced decision

A statement of what forms of medical treatment you would or would not like should you become unable to decide for yourself in the future

Assets

The value of an estate

Attorney

Person nominated by you in an LPA to manage your affairs when you are unable to do so yourself

Beneficiary

Person who benefits from a will

Bequest

Gift of a particular object or cash in a Will

Certificate provider

Professional or person who knows you well who certifies that you understand the meaning of  the LPA you are signing and that you are not being pressurised into making it.

Chattels                     

Personal belongings excluding money or investments

Child                          

Term used in will to refer to child of deceased to include adopted and illegitimate children but not stepchildren

Class of person

Group of people with a common link e.g.’ all my grandchildren’

Codicil

Document altering an existing will

Co-habitee

Live-in partner – ‘common law wife’ is not a recognised legal term

Deputy           

Person appointed by the Court of Protection to act on your behalf if you become unable to make decisions for yourself and you do not have a registered LPA.

Donor

Person making the LPA

Estate                         

All the assets and property of the deceased

Executor                    

Personal representative appointed by a will who may apply for probate to deal with the property of the deceased

Expression of wishes

Document giving guidance to people in your will for example about trust operation or the exclusion of someone from your will

Grant of probate

Document issued by probate registry to executor to allow them to deal with the property of the deceased

Guardian

Person to become responsible for your children in the event of your death before they reach the age of 18 years

Inheritance Tax (IHT)

Tax that may be payable when the total estate of the deceased exceeds a set threshold

Intestate

Person who dies without making a will

Issue

Your children and their offspring such as grandchildren and great- grandchildren

LPA

Lasting Power of Attorney

Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA)

Document which allows you to appoint individuals to manage your affairs if you are unable to do so yourself because of physical or mental disability

Legacy

A gift of money or an object

Letters of administration

Document issued by probate registry to the administrator of the estate of a person who dies without a will.

Life interest

Gift that gives the right to income from an asset or right to occupy a property for the duration of their life after which it passes to another person specified in the will.

Life tenant

Person who enjoys the benefit for life

Living Will

See Advanced decision

Minor

Person under the age of 18 years

Named person                      

Person to be notified on registration of a Lasting Power of Attorney OR person named in a will

Next of kin                

Person entitled to the estate when a person dies without a will

Personal estate         

All the investments and belongings of a person apart from land and buildings

Probate of the will   

Document issued to executors by the probate registry to authorise them to administer the estate

Probate Registry       

Government office dealing with probate matters

Real estate                

Land and buildings owned by a person

Remainderman         

Person who gets an asset on the death of a life tenant

Replacement attorney

Person to act in place of your attorney if they are unable or unwilling to do so

Residuary beneficiary          

Person who gets or shares what is left of the estate after all debts, taxes and specific legacies have been paid

Residue                      

What is left of an estate to share out when all debts, specific legacies and bequests have been paid

Specific bequests      

Particular items gifted by a will

Specific legacies        

Particular items gifted by a will

Testator                     

Person making a will

Trustee                      

Person responsible for administering a trust

Will                            

Legal document stating what you want to happen to your possessions in the event of your death