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Some Common Legal Estate Planning Terms Explained

The person(s) appointed to distribute the estate if someone dies without a valid will or without appointing executors or if the appointed executor is unable or unwilling to act

A term sometimes used instead of legacy

A separate document amending the terms of an existing will

All the assets of a person at the time of death

Person appointed to put into effect the terms of a will.

When a person dies without a valid will they are said to be intestate. The estate is then distributed according to statutory regulations called the Rules of Intestacy.

A gift under the terms of a wil.l

Letters of Administration
Official acknowledgement by the Court of the appointment of administrators.

Pecuniary Legacy
A fixed sum of money given by will.

Personal Representative
Generic term for executors and administrators.

Probate (Grant of)
Official confirmation by the Court of the validity of a will and the executors named in it.

Probate Court
A division of the High Court but not a Court in the popular concept – there are no judges and juries. Rather it is an administrative office staffed by Civil Servants. The main office is in London with branches around the country.

Residuary Beneficiary
The person(s) who receive what remains of an estate after all other legacies, liabilities, tax and expenses have been paid.

The remainder of the estate after all specific and pecuniary legacies, liabilities, tax and costs have been met.

Specific Bequest
A gift of a particular item (not money) given in a will Testator/Testatrix The person making a will.

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