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Direct Will Writing Service

Glossary

Find the meanings of some of the terms we use when writing a Will.

Beneficiary

A person who is entitled to receive a gift under a Will.

Bequest

A gift of property or money.

Chattel

Personal property including furniture and moveable goods but excluding freehold land.

Codicil

A document signed the same way as a Will, which amends an existing Will.

Estate

Everything a person owns when they die.

Executor

A person who is appointed to administer an estate.

Execution of a Will

Where a Will is signed and witnessed

Guardian

A person who is appointed to look after children under the age of eighteen.

Inheritance Tax

A tax that is levied on a person's estate which is valued over the Nil Rate Band.

Intestate

A person who has died without making a valid Will.

Legacy

A gift of money or property.

Nil Rate Band

A figure set by the government which is the amount that an individual may leave to his or her beneficiaries free of tax.

Joint tenant

If property is owned jointly as joint tenants, then on the death of one joint tenant, the property will automatically pass to the surviving joint tenant.

Residuary Estate

This is the balance of an estate after all debts, taxes and specific legacies have been paid. It is shared out according to the terms of the Will or intestacy rules (if there is no Will) .

Tenants in common

If property is owned jointly as tenants in common, each co-owner has a defined share in the property which on their death, will pass in accordance with their Will or intestacy rules. It does not pass automatically to the surviving co-owner.

Testator / Testatrix

The person making a Will or Codicil.

Trust

This is an arrangement under which property is held by named people for the benefit of someone else.

Trustee

A person who holds property for the benefit of someone else.

Will

The document by which a testator gives instructions for the disposal of his estate on his death.

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