- Money, property and land belonging to the deceased, to be distributed among the beneficiaries. All of the deceased's assets combined together are called the Estate.
- A person legally appointed by another to make decisions and act on behalf of the other person.
- Somebody either left a specific asset in the Will, or in the absence of a Will, somebody who inherits under the rules of intestacy.
- 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.
- The act of leaving a bequest.
- The sum total of the deceased's assets including all monies, property and land - minus any debts.
- The person(s) named in the Will who is/are responsible and liable for carrying out its instructions.
- Grant of Probate
- Formal confirmation of the authority of an Executor to administer the Estate.
- Inheritance Tax (IHT)
A tax charged on the Estate of someone who has died. 40% of everything you own above your threshold could be charged as IHT when you die. The IHT 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 spouse or civil partner passed away).
The government has extended the Inheritance Tax threshold where you pass on your home to your children (including adopted, foster or step children) or grandchildren. This additional threshold is currently £175,000.
- Intestacy Law
- This is the law that applies when a person has died intestate, which means they have died without leaving valid Will.
- Last Will and Testament (Will)
- The document written prior to death and signed in the presence of two witnesses, which names the executor, beneficiaries and any bequests or other instructions.
- Personal Representative
- Either a named executor (if there is a Will) or the person who, in the absence of a Will, has been granted authority to administer the estate. Among other things, they prepare an IHT Return, take control of the deceased's assets and distribute them to the 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 or, in the case of a Power of Attorney for Property and Financial Affairs, you could choose for it to take effect before then. 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 to have both types of power it is possible to combine a Continuing and Welfare Power of Attorney into the one legal document.
- Enduring Power of Attorney
- An enduring power of attorney (EPA) is a document that was used to appoint someone ('an Attorney') to help manage your property, money and financial affairs. The EPA was replaced with the lasting power of attorney (LPA) in October 2007.
- 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 authority of the Personal Representative(s) to administer 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). In Scotland this is called Confirmation.
- The person who makes their Will.
- Trust Corporation
- A Trust Corporation is a business or which undertakes the administration of trusts and estates. A Trust Corporation may also act as a Professional Attorney.
Skipton Trustees Limited are a trust corporation and can undertake and manage Trust business in England and Wales.
- A person or firm that holds and is responsible for managing assets that have placed into a trust for the benefit of a beneficiary or beneficiaries.
- The Office of the Public Guardian (OPG)
- The Office of the Public Guardian is a government body that carried out various functions towards enabling and protecting persons who lack capacity. These functions include registering lasting and enduring powers of attorney; maintaining the registers of attorneys and court-appointed deputies; and supervising their activities.