Legal Information Centre


21 May 2009 by Mary Heaney

Wills lawyer jargon buster

Wills lawyers often insist on giving their advice in legal speak which can have the effect of making an already complex situation seem even more confusing.

Wills lawyers often insist on giving their advice in legal speak which can have the effect of making an already complex situation seem even more confusing. You shouldn't be afraid to ask your wills lawyer to repeat something or provide further clarification on a point but to make you feel a little more confident when first meeting with your wills lawyer, below are explanations for a few key terms.


Testator


This is the person who a wills lawyer assists in making a will.


Beneficiary


This is an individual who you instruct your wills lawyer to leave something to in your will.


Executor/administrator


This is the person made responsible for carrying out the wishes expressed in the will and who a wills lawyer can assist in gaining access to the deceased's assets. A wills lawyer can include more than one executor in a will. The executor can be a beneficiery or you can appoint a corporate executor such as a bank or your wills lawyer.


Estate


This is the collective name for the assets the deceased has left behind and which a wills lawyer will assist adminstrate. This includes money, property and possessions.


Probate


This is the process of administering the estate of a deceased individual that a will lawyer can assist with.


Intestate


This describes the situation where someone has died without using a wills lawyer to draw up a will.


Grant of probate


When the deceased has left a will, a wills lawyer will assist the executors obtain this permit to access the deceased's assets so that they can distributed among the beneficieries.


Grant of letter of administration


When the deceased has not left a will, a wills lawyer will assist the next of kin in obtaining this permit for access to the deceased assets in replacement of the grant of probate outlined above.


Probate registry


This is the court that deals with probate and administration and which your wills lawyer will apply to for a grant of probate or a grant of letter of administration.


Nil rate band


The maximum value up to which tax does not have to be paid on an estate. This is important for your wills lawyer to bear in mind as the arrangement of your will can help reduce the amount of tax that beneficieries have to pay. This amount is updated every year and is currently £325,000, rising to £350,000 in April 2010.


NB: None of this information should be construed as legal advice.

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