Jargon buster

Assets

Money, property and land belonging to the deceased, to be distributed among the beneficiaries. All of the deaceased's assets combined together are called the Estate.

Attorney

A person legally appointed by another to carry out their wishes.

Beneficiary

Somebody either bequeathed a specific asset in the Will, or in the absence of a Wilil, somebody who inherits under the Intestacy Law.

Bequest

An instruction written by the Testator (the person whose Will it is) to pass some of their assets to a person upon their death. Also can refer to the specific asset itself.

Bequeath

The act of leaving a bequest.

Estate

The sum total of the deceased's assets including all monies, property and land - minus any debts.

Executor(s)

The person(s) named in the Will who is/are responsible and liable for carrying out its instructions.

Grant of Probate

Formal, legal permission for an executor to administer the estate.

Inheritance Tax (IHT)

40% of everything you own above your threshold could be charged as Inheritance Tax when you die. The Inheritance Tax thresholds stand at £325,000 if you’re single or divorced, and £650,000 if you’re married or in a civil partnership (if you’re widowed, it is up to £650,000 depending on how much allowance was used when your partner passed away).

Intestacy Law

This is the law that applies when a person is said to have died intestate, which means they have died without leaving a Will.

Last Will and Testament

The document written prior to death and signed in the presence of two witnesses, which names the executor and beneficiaries.

Personal Representative

The person either a named executor or who in the absence of a Will is entitled to apply to deal with the estate, prepares an Inheritance Tax Return, takes control of the deceased's assets and divides them up among their Beneficiaries.

Powers of Attorney

Lasting Power of Attorney (England & Wales)

A Lasting Power of Attorney is a legal document that lets you appoint someone (known as an 'Attorney') to make decisions on your behalf.

It can be used if you become unable to make your own decisions. There are two types in England and Wales:

  • Health and Welfare
  • Property and Financial Affairs

You can choose to make one type of Lasting Power of Attorney or both.

Continuing and Welfare Powers of Attorney (Scotland)

There are two types of Powers of Attorney that can be granted in Scotland which are a Continuing Power of Attorney or a Welfare Power of Attorney. A Continuing Power of Attorney lets your Attorney deal with your financial affairs whereas a Welfare Power of Attorney lets them make decisions about your personal welfare. If you wish your Attorney ti have both types of power it is possible to combine a Continuing and Welfare Power of Attorney into the one legal document.

Probate Service

The Probate Service forms part of the Family Division of the High Court. This office officially issues Grants of Representation, which document the division of the testator's estate. These are known as Probate (when the deceased person left a valid will and an executor is acting) and Letters of Administration (where there is no valid will). 

Testator

The person who makes their Will.

Trust Corporation

Skipton Trustees Limited are a trust corporation and can undertake and manage Trust business in England and Wales.

Trustee

A person or firm that holds property or assets for the benefit of a beneficiary.

The Office of the Public Guardian (OPG)

The Public Guardian carries out various functions towards enabling and protecting persons who lack capacity. These functions include; to set up and maintain a register of Lasting Power of Attorney and a register of court orders that appoint deputies.
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