Probate Glossary

Probate Glossary

In England and Wales, the personal representatives appointed when the deceased dies intestate or where there are no personal representatives able or willing to act.

Under English law, a person aged 18 or over and under Scottish law, a person aged 16 or over.

Document in England & Wales whereby land or buildings are transferred to a beneficiary of an estate.

The clause at the end of a Will declaring the date and place of signing and the names and designations of the witness or witnesses.

In England & Wales, joint holders of property who are treated as a single unit.

In England & Wales, joint holders of property with individual shares in the property.

A person who receives all or part of an estate under a Will. A beneficiary may also be a person who receives payment from a life insurance policy or a trust.

To leave money or property (other than land) to someone in a Will.

A gift of money or property in a Will.

A bequest is cancelled because the gift is no longer owned at the time of death.

A bequest is cancelled because the deceased has already given the gift to the beneficiary during their lifetime.

Competence to enter into a legally binding agreement.

Legitimate, illegitimate or adopted child of a parent (excludes stepchild).

A document that modifies some provision of a Will but doesn't revoke it.

In Scotland, the court order giving an executor-nominate or executor-dative the right to deal with the deceased’s assets.

To grant authority to a person to act on behalf of another person.

In English law, gifts of land made in a Will. This is an old fashioned phrase but it will still occasionally be used in a Will.

To refuse or renounce a right or authority.

In Scotland, to transfer or give.

A person to whom any property is legally transferred.

In Scotland, an authenticating endorsement note on a document.

The docket used in Scotland to transfer the title of a dwellinghouse or land or buildings to the beneficiary of an estate.

Usually a mortgage or charge upon property securing the payment of a debt or other liability.

All the property belonging to a person (at death, in Scotland).

To sign or otherwise complete the formalities of a legal document.

A person named in a Will to manage the deceased’s estate and to ensure that a testator’s wishes are carried out and the Will followed. For Scotland, see Executor Nominate.

In Scotland, a person appointed by the court to manage the estate of a deceased person when there is no Executor Nominate.

In Scotland a person named in a Will to manage the deceased’s estate.

A gift of money or shares paid from the general assets of the estate.

In England & Wales, the official document obtained by administrators of an estate on an intestacy, showing that they have the legal authority to deal with the deceased’s property.

In England & Wales, the official document obtained by administrators where there is a Will, but the personal representatives named are unwilling or unable to act, showing they have the legal authority to deal with the deceased’s property.

In England & Wales, a court order giving an executor the legal right to deal with the deceased’s assets.

A person with parental responsibility for a minor child.

The person who registers the death.

A tax imposed on a person’s estate upon death and in some cases on gifts during the person’s lifetime.

An estate where the debts of the deceased and other liabilities of the estate, including funeral and administration expenses, exceed the value of assets of the estate.

The rules which govern the distribution of property belonging to a person who dies intestate.

Dying without leaving a valid Will.

All of the children, grandchildren and remoter descendants of a person, whether born within or outside marriage, including adopted children.

Property owned jointly with another person or persons.

In English law, a way of holding property jointly whereby when one of the joint owners dies, their share passes automatically to the other joint owner.

Usually a gift of money in a Will.

In Scotland, the claims which the surviving spouse and/or issue have to share in the deceased’s estate, whether or not the deceased died intestate.

A person entitled to a legacy under a Will.

In English law, similar to grant of probate but used when there is a Will but no acting personal representatives or there is no Will.

An interest in an estate or income from a trust containing that estate that is limited to the life of the beneficiary.

Entitlement to income for life under a trust. When the person with a life interest dies, the property is not distributed in accordance with their Will or intestacy but is dealt with in accordance with the Will of the person who set up the trust.

In Scottish law, a life interest.

An authority that is restricted to specified acts or type of acts, or to a specified time period.

Under English law, a person under the age of 18 and under Scottish law, a person under the age of 16.

A loan secured on land.

Property which the deceased has nominated a particular person to receive after their death (certain National Savings investments and government stock only).

The process of proving the validity of a Will and the personal representatives’ authority to manage the estate.

A gift of money in a Will.

The generic term for an executor for the estate of a deceased person who left a Will or the administrator of an intestate estate (where there is no Will).

In Scotland, division between a number of beneficiaries according to branches of the family, as opposed to equally among all the beneficiaries.

In England & Wales, an executor can reserve their right to apply to for a grant of probate at a later date on a form issued by the Probate Registry .

In Scotland, the Government Officer appointed to deal with Continuing Powers of Attorney or Welfare Powers of Attorney.

Confirmation of an act or of the validity of an act.

Land or buildings, the ownership of which is registered at HM Land Registry.

A beneficiary who receives the residue of an estate or part of it.

A gift of residue made in a Will.

A person who receives all or part of the residue of a person’s estate.

The remainder of an estate after the deduction of tax, debts, specific gifts, legacies and the expenses of administration.

In Scotland, to refuse or renounce a right of authority.

To take back, withdraw or cancel.

A gift of a particular item of property in a Will.

An Act of Parliament.

A form completed in the presence of a solicitor or other officer of the court confirming that the person making the declaration is entitled to deal with the estate.

A person designated as a beneficiary in case another beneficiary has died or fails to survive for a specified period or fails to reach a specified age.

A clause in a Will stating what is to happen to property on a failure of a nominated beneficiary to survive.

In English law, a state of joint ownership in which each person owns a percentage of the property.

In Scotland, the clause at the end of a Will declaring the date and place of signing and the names and designations of the witness or witnesses.

Ownership.

An arrangement under which a person or persons (the trustee or trustees) hold and manage property (which can be money, shares, land, etc.) for the benefit of another person or persons (the trust beneficiary or beneficiaries).

Land or buildings, the ownership of which is not registered at HM Land Registry.

A legal document which sets out the wishes of the testator for the distribution of their estate and certain other matters after their death.

A person who signs a Will to signify that they saw the testator sign it.

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