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will and probate services

Legal Love Letters: Glossary of terms  | Understand your will | common terms used in wills

Language used in wills can be confusing at the best of times so to help you understand your will a bit better,  we've listed the most commonly used terms below

Glossary of Terms


A person appointed when either no Will can be found or there is no executor

to carry out the intentions of the Will.


Administration, Letters of

Letters of administration

Granted by a court to administrators (usually the next of kin) to give them the authority they need to act and to administer/distribute the estate where

there is no Will.


Generally everything that you own.



Someone who will inherit from the Will, a trust or under the intestacy laws.



A gift left in a Will.


Chargeable gift

A gift on which Inheritance Tax may be payable.



A document executed by a testator subsequent to the Will which alters, cancels

or adds to the provisions of the previously drafted Will.



A gift by Will of freehold property.



A person appointed in the Will to administer the estate.



Someone appointed to look after the interests of a child under the age of 18.


Inheritance Tax

Tax payable on the transfer of assets either during an individual's lifetime

or on his or her death.



A person who dies without making a valid Will.



A gift of a specific item left in a Will, apart from land.


Life Interest

The right to enjoy for life (or until a specified time period has elapsed or an event has occurred, like someone remarrying) either money or property which will eventually revert to the original estate in some way on death - instructions are included in the Will as to what should happen to the gift when the life interest ends.


Movable Property

Anything other than buildings or land.


Pecuniary Legacy

A gift of money under a Will.


Potentially Exempt Transfer (PET)

A gift made during ones lifetime that is exempt from Inheritance Tax if the donor lives for seven years after making the gift.



Someone who dies before the person who has made the Will.


Probate, Grant of

Grant of probate

The document which confirms to executors that they have authority to act,

and which validates the Will.



What is left of the estate after the payment of all debts, taxes, administration expenses, legacies and bequests under the Will.


Reversionary Interest

Interest in trust property.


Specific Legacy

A gift of a specific object under a Will.



The person (male/female) who makes the Will.



An arrangement by which asset(s) is handed over to trustees to be applied

for the benefit of other people known as beneficiaries.



A person holding asset(s) on behalf of another person and is responsible

for administering the trust assets.


Variation, Deed of

Deed of variation

An arrangement whereby certain provisions under a Will may be varied

by consent of the beneficiaries.



A form of instructions as to how someone wishes to dispose of their assets on death.

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