Administrator: someone who is appointed by law to settle your affairs of someone who dies without a Will.

Beneficiary: anyone who receives from a Will

Codicil: to change an existing Will you can add a codicil. Often it is as easy and no more costly to make another Will.

Crown or Treasury: the government. If you do not have a Will and have no next of kin, the Crown receives your estate.

Estate: is the total value of everything you own at your death, less any outstanding commitments.

Executor/Executorix (M/F): those people you choose to make your Will happen. You may have one or two. Often this will be a friend and a local solicitor.

Funeral arrangements: directions you can give in your will regarding your wishes such as details of your burial, funeral services, ‘In memoriam’ gifts in lieu of flowers, etc.

Inheritance Tax: a 40% tax payable on larger estates. (A legacy to charity is free of Inheritance Tax).

Intestacy: the name for the situation that arises when someone dies without making a Will. If you need help to sort out the affairs in such an instance, we have a special probate service for when there is no will.

Legacy: a gift in a Will. It can be
- Specific legacy: a definite object or property
- Pecuniary legacy: a gift of a specific sum of money
- Residual legacy: (the residue): a gift of the money or asset left when other legacies and expenses have been paid – i.e. the remainder.
- Life Interest: eg ‘to my wife for her use in her lifetime, then to charity’
- Conditional Interest: a legacy which is dependent upon an event or specified criteria being met.

Probate: the legal process to establish your Will is valid. If not, and administrator is appointed.

Testator/Testatrix (M/F): this is you – the person making the Will.

Trust: an arrangement you can make in your Will to administer part of your assets after your death. You can only make a limited Trust (To make a Nil Rate Band Discretionary Trust) on this website. For more complicated Trust provisions, you should contact a local Solicitor (See one of the solicitors listed).

Witness: Two witnesses must see you sign your Will and you must also watch both of them sign it. They must also watch each other sign the Will. No beneficiary (or their spouse) should sign the Will; if they do, any gift to them or their spouse will be invalid and will fail.

IMPORTANT: Even if you have a will, you should regularly review it. Click here to find out why you need to review your Last Will and Testament