Wills, Trusts, Probate Terminology

Assets – anything you own of value including property and land, investments, cash, and items  such as paintings, antiques or valuable jewellery. 

Attorneys – Individuals named by you to deal with your affairs on your behalf during your lifetime.

Bankruptcy Search – A document which records whether a person is, has been or soon will be made bankrupt.

Certificate Provider – Someone you choose to confirm that you understand the Lasting Power of Attorney and are not being pressurised into making it.

Chattels – personal belongings that usually include items of furniture, art, antiques, jewellery, watches etc.

Codicil – a legal document that can be used to make minor changes to a Will.  In order for it be valid, the same formalities are applied as to a Will.

Costs – The charges incurred by a person instructing a lawyer to act for them.

Court of Protection – Court which makes decisions for those who have lost capacity and do not have a Lasting Power of Attorney in place.

Crown – Another term for the government. If a person dies without making a Will and has no next of kin, ultimately the Crown will receive the whole estate.

Disbursement – A sum paid by a solicitor on behalf of a client.

Domicile – The domicile of origin is normally where you are born unless a new domicile of choice is adopted by taking up permanent residence in another country.

Donor – This is the individual creating the Lasting Power of Attorney and giving power over their affairs to Attorneys

Estate – Your estate includes all assets being your home, your car, your bank accounts, investments and anything else you own in your sole name such as jewellery and household items.  Also, anything you own jointly.

Executor – the person(s) named in a Will to administer your estate after your death.

Grant of probate – the legal document issued to the executors by the Probate Registry that authorises them to deal with the assets in the deceased’s name. Without it, money and property can not be collected in and then distributed according to the Will. See Letters of Administration when there is no Will.

Health and Welfare LPA – A legal document enabling you to name others to deal with your health related affairs on your behalf during your lifetime.

IHT– Inheritance Tax

Inquest – A process to determine as far as possible the identity of the deceased and where, when and how he/she came to die.

Intestate – The term used when someone dies without a valid Will in place. Without a Will, property and possessions held in the sole name of the deceased will be distributed according to the Rules of Intestacy. Jointly held assets will pass automatically to the surviving joint owner on death

Issue – children, grandchildren, adopted children.

Joint tenancy – a common arrangement for property owned by two or more people. When one owner dies, their ownership passes to the surviving owner(s).

Lasting Power of Attorney- A legal document enabling you to name others to deal with your affairs on your behalf during your lifetime.

Legacy – a gift included in a Will that is either a fixed sum of money or a specific item. Legatee is the term used to describe that type of beneficiary.

Letters of administration – gives the same authority as the Grant of Probate, but is issued when there is no Will.

Liquid Assets – Cash assets or assets easily convertible into cash such as net equity in any property(ies), savings, shares, ISAs or endowments and other policies.

losing Capacity – To be unable to make or communicate your own decisions by reason of physical or mental impairment.

LPA – An abbreviation for Lasting Power of Attorney.

Named Person – Someone who you wish to inform that you have made a Lasting Power of Attorney and you are now going to register it.

Office of the Public Guardian – This is the agency that manages the registration and use of Lasting Powers of Attorney.

Precedent – A previous decision or proceeding which may be relied upon.

Property and Financial Affairs LPA – A legal document enabling you to name others to deal with your financial affairs on your behalf during your lifetime.

Residue – what is left of the assets to share out after all the debts and legacies have been paid.

Rules of Intestacy – Set of legal rules which determine who will inherit your property when you are gone if you don’t leave a Will.

Substitute Attorneys – Individuals named by you to deal with your affairs on your behalf during your lifetime should your initial Attorneys become unable to act.

Tenants in common – the alternative way to hold joint property as opposed to joint tenants. Tenants in common own specific shares of an asset that can be passed on under their Will (and do not pass to the surviving owner as it does with joint tenants).

Testator – the person who’s writing the Will – Testatrix if they’re female

Trust property – Property named in a Will which is looked after by one set of individuals for the benefit of others.

Trustee in Bankruptcy – Individual appointed when someone is made bankrupt to ensure any creditors are paid.

Trustees – Individuals named in a Will to manage money on behalf of someone else in that document.

Witness – a Will must have two witnesses to the testator signing it and they must not be beneficiaries of the Will, even indirectly.

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