Glossary of legal terms


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


The value of an estate


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


Person who benefits from a will


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.


Personal belongings excluding money or investments


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’


Document altering an existing will


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


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.


Person making the LPA


All the assets and property of the deceased


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


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


Person who dies without making a will


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


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


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


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


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


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


Person making a will


Person responsible for administering a trust


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