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Glossary of Probate Terms

Whether you are undertaking probate yourself or seeking a specialist to do so on your behalf it’s important to understand the legal terms that are used throughout the often complicated process. It’s also particularly useful if you are taking out a prepaid probate plan so that you understand everything that is and isn’t included in your plan.

  • Administrator
    Person appointed when there is no Will and no Executor named.
  • Assets
    All belongings of the deceased including property, personal items, savings, investments etc
  • Assets passing by survivorship
    Jointly held assets that automatically pass to the survivor rather than through the Will.
  • Beneficiary / Beneficiaries
    Person/s in receipt of assets and/or money in the deceased’s Will.
  • Codicil
    A legal document that amends rather than replaces a Will. It must conform to the same legal requirements as a Will.
  • Deed of Variation
    A document that allows beneficiaries to change the terms of a Will even after the Will holder’s death.
  • Disbursement
    Payment made to a third party.
  • Estate
    All of someone’s belongings including property, personal belongings, money, shares etc.
  • Executor
    The person appointed in a Will to administer the estate.
  • Estate Administration
    The process of distributing a person’s assets according to their Will.
  • Executors Oath
    A written statement sworn by Executors or Administrators which accompanies the application for Grant of Representation.
  • Grant of Probate
    The legal process of administering a deceased person’s estate.
  • Grant of Representation
    Issued by the Court it allows the named person to deal with the estate of the deceased person.
  • Guardian
    Person appointed to look after minor children Under 18 in England, Wales and Northern Ireland and under 16 in Scotland.
  • Inheritance Tax (IHT)
    Tax payable on an estate over the threshold.
  • Intestate
    Dying without a Will.
  • Legacy
    Specific gifts left in a Will, excluding property
  • Letters of Administration
    If someone dies Intestate a family member can apply to the probate court for a grant of administration. This gives them the same responsibility as an Executor.
  • Probate
    That the Will has been recognised and the Executors can act on the estate.
  • Residue
    The balance of the estate after expenses, debts and taxes are paid.
  • Testator
    The person that has made the Will.
  • Will
    A legal document setting out the wishes of a person. How they wish their estate to be distributed on their death.

For more information and help contact us or read more about probate on our website.