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Jargon Buster

Are you put off by some of the daunting legal terms involved in the Will making process? We have put together some of the most common terms used and a simple explanation of what they mean:

ADMINISTRATOR
Someone who is appointed by law to settle your affairs if you die without a Will.

BENEFICIARY
Anyone who receives from a Will.

BEQUEST
A gift left in a Will - see Legacy below

CROWN OR TREASURY
The Government. Where your money and property go if you have not made a Will and have no next of kin.

ESTATE
The total value of everything you own at your death, less any outstanding commitments

EXECUTORS
The people you choose to ensure the instructions in your Will are carried out. They can be a solicitor, a friend or a family member.

INHERITANCE TAX
A 40% tax payable on estates worth over £325,000. Money left to your spouse or a charity is not taxed. If your spouse pre-deceased you and did not use up their full inheritance allowance, this will be added to your own at the rate prevailing at your death.

Legacy 10 came into force on 6th April 2012. For people who die after this date and leave 10% of their estate to charity there is a corresponding reduction in the overall rate of Inheritance tax payable on the rest of the estate from 40% to 36%. It is also possible to achieve this saving by way of a deed of variation after someone has died too by inserting the legacy to charity into their Will after death.

INTESTACY
The name for the situation which arises when someone dies without making a Will.

LEGACY
A gift left in a Will. (Otherwise called a bequest) It can be...

  • Specific: a gift of a definite object or property.
  • Pecuniary: a gift of a specific sum of money.
  • Residuary: a gift of all, or a percentage of, your estate left¬†after all other legacies and expenses have been paid
  • Reversionary: a gift to someone for their lifetime which after their death goes to someone else

PROBATE (IN SCOTLAND CONFIRMATION)
The legal process to establish whether your Will is valid and the legacies can be distributed as specified.

TESTATOR/TESTATRIX
You, the person making the Will.

TRUST
An arrangement you can make in your Will to administer part of your assets after your death.