Probate and estate administration is a subject which is full of jargon, so here is a breakdown of some of the most frequently used terminology.
Administrator – If a Will has not been made, a person will be set by the court to deal with the deceased’s estate, this person will be the administrator
Assets – Any property, money and possessions, so that includes homes; land; bank accounts; cash; cars; shares; premium bonds and much more
Beneficiary – A person or organisation who is due to receive money or assets through a Will, a Trust or Intestacy
Chattels – Belongings which are owned, but are not considered assets, such as furniture, antiques, jewellery and even pets
Codicil – An official document which details any changes or updates to a Will
Crown – Also known as the government or the state
Estate – Any money, property, debts or possessions are known as your estate
Executor – The person named in a Will who will deal with the estate following the death of he who has made the Will
Grant of Probate – The executor of a Will may need to apply for a Grant of Probate in order to gain the authority to deal with the deceased’s estate
IHT – Inheritance Tax – this is a tax which is paid if a person’s estate is worth more than £325,000 when they die. Normally the executor or the administrator pays Inheritance Tax using money from the estate
Intestate/Intestacy – When a person dies with no Will or an invalid Will, they are considered to have died intestate
Legacy – Any specific amount of money or a particular item left to a person or an institution such as a charity. This type of beneficiary is sometimes called a Legatee.
Letters of Administration – This is Legal documentation which is issued when a person dies without a Will
Probate – The legal process whereby a Will is validated by the court
Residue – When all debts and legacies are paid, the remainder of the estate is called the residue and this must be distributed
Joint Tenants – Two people who own equal shares of a property, so if one passes away, the other tenant has the property entirely
Tenants in Common – Two people who own a certain share each of the property, and said share can be passed on in their Will, so the surviving tenant will not necessarily receive the deceased’s share
Testator – A person who has made a Will
Witness – Those who are not beneficiaries, nor closely related to beneficiaries of a Will may be witness to the testator signing it. In the United Kingdom, two witness signatures are required and they must be 18 years of age or above.
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