Terms You’ll Hear When Making a Will

When making your will we’ll try and keep things as clear as possible. You’ll occasionally hear terms you might not be familiar with. So for the curious, here’s a glossary of the legalese.

Jargon Buster –

Administrator – A person appointed by law to finalise your affairs if you die without leaving a Will.

Beneficiary – Anyone who receives something from your Will.

Bequest – (also often called a legacy) A gift in a Will. Gifts are normally pecuniary (a specific sum of money), residuary (generally stated as a percentage share of what is left after all other gifts have been made) or specific (a particular item or property).

Codicil – An addition or amendment to an existing Will.

Estate – The total value of everything you own at your time of death, minus any outstanding commitments.

Executor – A person you appoint to make sure the wishes stated in your Will are carried out.

Guardian – A person appointed by a parent to look after their children in the event of their death before the children reach adulthood.

Intestacy – The situation that exists if you die without a valid Will. Currently provisions for dealing with this are covered under the Administration of Estates Act 1955.

Inheritance Tax- A tax levied at 40% of the value of your estate over the first £325,000. Gifts to your spouse or a charity are exempt. There are other reliefs (agricultural and business property) available.

Nil-rate Band – The portion of your estate you don’t pay inheritance tax on. Currently set from £0 up to £325,000 each, there are ways to increase your nil-rate band if necessary (making less inheritance tax to pay).

Probate – The process that determines whether your Will is valid. It is an application to the Court combining the Executor’s oath and the Testator’s completed inheritance tax account.

Testator (male) and Testatrix (female) – The person making the Will.

Trust – A provision you can put in your Will to treat part of your assets in a particular way after your death.

Nothing on this site should ever be considered to be legal advice or research but if you do wish to receive advice on any of the content discussed please contact us on 028 3752 5400 and we will be happy to help you. Please note that whilst we will aim to provide accurate information the world changes at a fast pace so always follow up with your solicitor to ensure you are fully up to date with same. For complete Terms and Conditions please see the relevant section of our website.

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