Administration: Dealing with the affairs and estate of a person who has died including collecting their assets, paying their debts and paying the residue to the people who are to benefit.

Asset: Anything of value that you own

Beneficiary: A person or organisation who will receive assets from the estate of the deceased.

Bequest: A gift left to a person, organisation or charity in a Will.

Codicil: A legal document altering or adding to an existing will. It must be witnessed in its own right and kept with your will.

Conveyance: A document or process transferring ownership of land or buildings.

Deed: A legal document that must be witnessed.

Deed of Gift: The transfer of the property, or share of property, from one person to another.

Discretionary Trusts: A trust where the Trustees can choose which beneficiaries (if any) should receive income and or capital. They are a flexible way of setting property aside for the benefit of one or more persons.

Domicile: Your domicile will affect which succession law in applicable to you. Domicile is not the same as residence.

Estate: All the property and assets of the person who has died.

Executor: This is the personal representative who has been appointed by the Will or Codicil to carry out the wishes and distribute assets as set out in the Will.

Gift: An asset you give completely to someone else.

Grant of Probate: The Court’s authority for the Executors to deal with the deceased’s financial affairs.

Guardian: A guardian will have parental responsibility for any child (under 18) of whom they are named guardian. Parental responsibility means legal authority to act in relation to a child on such matters as medical care, where they are to live, their education, financial matters etc. Guardians may be appointed by a parent who has parental responsibility, an existing guardian or the Court. If you name a guardian in your Will the appointment may not take effect if your child has a surviving parent with parental responsibility.

Income: Any money or interest generated by an asset, rather than the value of it.

Intellectual Property: Anything you have created and protected by a patent or copyright.

Intestate: A person is said to have died intestate when he dies without a Will.

Intestacy (Partial): Where the deceased leaves a will that fails to distribute the whole estate.

Irrevocable: A document that cannot be revoked or cancelled.

Joint Tenants: One of the two different ways two or more people can own a single property. When one of the joint owners dies the property will automatically be owned by the surviving joint tenant owner irrespective of what that person’s Will might state. Each owner owns 100% of the property.

Joint Tenants in Common: The second of the two different ways that two or more people can own a single property. Each owner owns an individual share in the property and can leave it to whomever they wish in their Will.

Legacy: A gift left to a person or organisation in your will

Liabilities: Debts or bills that must be paid from your estate after you die.

Lifetime Gift: Something you give away while you are alive rather than by your Will.

Mirror Will: A set of two Will documents that are similar in content. Such documents are normally written for ‘couples’. Mirror Wills have replaced ‘Joint Wills’ which were rather inflexible.

Mutual Wills: Mutual Wills cannot be changed after one of you has died.

Probate: The legal process whereby Executors obtain confirmation that a Will is valid and they have the necessary authority to carry out the instructions contained in it.

Property: Anything owned by a person, not just a building or land.

Power of Attorney: This a formal document giving legal authority from one person (the donor) to another (the attorney) so that the Attorney may act on behalf of their principal.

Residual Beneficiaries: Persons who will benefit from the residual estate.

Revocation (of Will): This is the process by which someone cancels or takes back a Will (or Codicil) made previously when they no longer intend that Will to take effect. The Testator (person who made a Will or Codicil) must have mental capacity to revoke the Will (or Codicil). The effect of revocation is that any earlier Will shall take effect as if the later cancelled Will does not exist. If there is no previous Will then the person revoking their Will becomes intestate. Most new Wills contain an explicit clause stating that they revoke any previous Wills.

Schedule: List of assets in a trust or Will.

Settlement: Another word for a trust.

Settlor: The person who sets up a Trust.

Testator: The owner of a Will.

Trust Period: How long the trust can exist before it is wound up and distributed. The maximum is 125 years.

A Trust: One or more persons hold property for the benefit of others (the beneficiaries). A Trustee is the person who is acting in the trust and holds the property for the benefit of someone else

Will: A legal document which details a person’s wishes for after they have died.

Witnesses: Two independent people who are required to sign the Will stating that they have observed the Testator signing it. The witnesses must not be benefiting from the Will or be married to (or be in a civil partnership with) anyone benefiting from the Will