Glossary of Probate terms

Glossary

Asset

Anything a person owns of value including property and land, investments or money.

Beneficiary

A person who benefits on the death of another either under a Will or on Intestacy (see below).

Deed of Variation

A legal document drawn up to alter or amend a Will after the Testator's death.

Domicile

A person is domiciled in the country in which they have their permanent home. That does not mean it is necessarily the country in which they normally reside (see "Residence" below), as they may reside in one country for some years, but have an intention to return to their country of origin at some point in the future.

Estate

The term used to describe a person's assets and property.

Estate administration

The process of dividing and distributing a person’s property and assets to heirs and beneficiaries according to the laws of the state and the directions in the deceased’s Will.

Executor

A person named in a Will to administer the deceased's estate and distribute the estate in accordance with the terms of the Will.

Grant of Letters of Administration

A document issued to a deceased's administrator to authorise the administrator to deal with the estate.

Grant of Probate

A document issued to the executors of a Will which will allow them to administer and distribute the estate in accordance with the terms of the Will.

Inheritance Tax

A tax on the total value of a deceased's estate, commonly referred to in its abbreviated form, IHT. The current Inheritance Tax (IHT) threshold is £325,000 per person. It doubles to £650,000 for a married couple or civil partners as long as the first person to die leaves their entire estate to their partner. Anything over this limit is subject to a 40% tax bill, when passing to an exempt beneficiary.

Intestate/Intestacy

A phrase to describe someone who has died without making a valid Will and the subsequent administration of that person's estate.

Life Interest Trust

A Trust (see below) that enables a beneficiary to receive income from or to use a property named in the Trust.

Probate Registry

A division of the High Court responsible for issuing Grants of Probate and Grants of Letters of Administration and settling disputes relating to estates.

Residence

The country in which a person makes their home. A person may be domiciled elsewhere (see "Domicile" above) - for example, for tax or other purposes - especially if the current residence is for convenience or not intended to be permanent.

Testate

A phrase used to describe someone who has died having made a valid Will.

Trust

Where assets are held or looked after by Trustees for the benefit of one or more persons.

Will

A written legal document outlining a person's last wishes, to include the appointment of Executors, Guardians and the gift of money or assets to one or more beneficiaries.

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