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What does a will mean Glossary of terms Wills and estates. Stonehewer Moss

What does a will mean  Glossary of terms   Wills and estates.    Stonehewer Moss solicitors in Northwich Cheshire.

Administrator  – If there  is no valid will or it fails to appoint a living person to be executor, the estate is looked after by an administrator. Usually it is the person who takes the benefit of the estate. A will gives you the opportunity to, for example, limit the chances of disputes after your death by appointing a separate executor.


Advancement – If you have a beneficiary who has to wait to receive their inheritance, a will can  empower your executor to advance the money early. It can also limit this right. Trusts are often referred to as maintenance and advancement trusts, making payment for purposes to advance or maintain the person benefiting under the trust.


Assent- A house remaining owned by an individual once the estate is finalised may deal with transfer of the house by an assent.


Attorney- A person authorised by power of attorney to act on behalf of another.


Beneficiary –  A person receiving a legacy or other benefit under a will or on intestacy


Bequest –  A gift other than of land.


Caveat – A court procedure to prevent grant of probate or letters of administration for up to 5=6 months eg if a dispute about the will is likely.


Chattels – Personal possessions, sadly often just dealt with by house clearance but that you can specifically gift for sentimental reasons.


Citation – A court procedure used to speed up issue of grant of probate if the executor is not making application.


Codicil – A supplementary document to a will. Rarely used today as it is as easy to draft a new will.


Conveyance – A document which transfers legal title to unregistered land. Registered land uses a Transfer. A conveyance is now rare.


Deed – A formal legal document signed according to legal rules and sometimes required for certain transactions.


Devise – A gift of land/ a house.


Donatio mortis causa – you are dying. A gift is given conditional on that death if you have capacity to make it. It is only effective on death.


Donor – The person making a gift. The recipient is a Donee.


Estate – The assets  and property of a deceased person.


Executor – A person appointed by will to look after the estate. Need not be a professional, who will charge but sometimes best and you could seek to fix the fee when making your will. Always ask what the charge to the estate will be.


Family investment company – an alternative to holding assets under a trust, being held by a company that has shareholders. May be used for tax planning purposes.


Grant of letters of administration – A court issued document authoring a person to look after the estate of a person who died without a will or failed to appoint a valid ( or willing)  executor. In the latter case, the grant is issued “ with will annexed”. Such a will is still valid.


Grant of Probate – A Court issued document confirming the validity of the will and authorising payment out according to the terms of the will to the executor, who will distribute after paying debts and expenses of the estate, including tax.


Inheritance Act claim – A will can be challenged if a person feels unreasonable provision is made for them by will. Some solicitors are offering to take such claims to court on a no win no fee basis. A carefully drafted will by a solicitor should limit the prospects of this costly and stressful process.


Inheritance Tax – On death the estate is valued and, unless all exempt, will be assessed to pay inheritance tax currently at 40% on that value over the inheritance tax threshold; currently £325,000 for an individual. If your likely estate approaches this sort of value, solicitors advice on tax planning is for the best.


Intestacy – Dying with no valid will. The rules of intestacy describe who receives the benefit of the estate and in what proportion. It is not permitted for family members or others to distribute without letters of administration in form different from these rules unless agreed by all those so entitled. You cannot distribute on such terms simply because you know that is what the deceased wanted. A person making such remarks before death without a will is simply causing a lot of trouble and potential expense that might be avoided by a will.


Joint tenants – The owners of freehold property together will often hold the house as joint tenants, meaning on the death of one the survivor receives the full value of the house regardless of the content of a will. If you hold a property on such basis and have separated from the other owner, it is essential that you consider severing the joint tenancy and make provision by will. A solicitors help to make this effective may be best.

Legacy – A gift by will


Life Tenant – A will may keep eg a house under a trust for the benefit of the next generation but give a lifetime interest to a partner or other person to live in it through-out their life.


Residuary estate – The estate not the subject of specific gifts.


Revocation – the process that invalidates a will. For example, by intentional destruction or upon marriage. A new  will revokes all previous wills.


Specific gifts – unless a will makes gifts of items, including houses, the estate is distributed as a residuary estate, meaning it is all sold divided and distributed as provided for by will. Such a division will always be done if there is no will. Since the Budget of 2015 there are potential Inheritance Tax planning benefits of gifting the house that will not be secured without a will.


Tax evasion – tax planning that is not allowed by the tax man. Compare tax avoidance.


Tenants in common – The alternative way to own a house together than as joint tenants. It means you may leave your share by will. A joint tenancy may be converted to tenancy in common without the need for consent by the joint owner.


Transfer – A document transferring ownership of registered land.


Trust – A method of holding assets that may not give immediate ownership to those that could benefit. Instead, a trustee hold the assets, invests them and distributes according to the terms of the trust. They can be used for tax planning purposes or simply as a way of holding assets for the benefit of future generations.


Trustee – a person responsible for holding assets for the benefit of others eg a child under a will. Often the executor but best having two of them.


Will – What does a will mean. Document created in life that instructs about the disposal of your estate at death. There is no minimal value required to make a will and you will be preventing disputes if carefully drafted. Can deal with emotional issues like cremation or burial as well.

What does a will mean To make a will or for advice upon an estate please contact Stonehewer Moss solicitors in Northwich Cheshire on 01606 872200 or  e mail



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