10.08.16

A Digital Death

The internet has grown fast over the past two decades – nearly as fast as those pesky Pokémon pop up – and unsurprisingly the law has struggled to keep pace with all the challenges this creates. In the pre-internet age, … Find out more »

11.07.16

Increase in Probate Fees

With all the news surrounding Brexit you may have not read that the government is proposing a new tiered system of probate fees in England and Wales, based on the value of the deceased’s estate, rather than the current flat … Find out more »

Glossary of Probate Terms

The language of Probate can often be confusing, so in order to assist with this, we have outlined some common terms to help better understand what the various terms mean (in alphabetical order):

Assets passing by survivorship
Where assets are held in joint names they will pass to the survivor automatically rather than through the Will and are excluded from the value of assets for Probate purposes.

Beneficiary or Beneficiaries
The person who is the recipient of money or other assets as assigned in a person’s Will

Codicil
This is a legal document that amends (rather than replaces) a previousl Will.  These may add or replace small provisions (e.g. a change in Executor) or may completely change the majority of the Will. It must conform to the same legal requirements as the original Will (such as the signature of the testator) and have two witnesses who do not benefit from the Will in any way.

Deed of Variation
This is a legal document that allows the Beneficiaries to change the terms of a Will, even after the person’s death

Grant of Probate
This is the legal process of administering the  Estate of a deceased person by resolving all claims and distributing the deceased person’s property under the valid Will

Executor’s Oath
A written statement sworn by Executors or Administrators of an Estate which accompanies an application for a Grant of Representation

Estate
All of one’s property and possessions including stocks and shares etc

Executor / Executrix (f)
The person appointed in the Will to administer the Estate of a person who has died

Estate Administration
This refers to the process through which a person’s assets (property, bank accounts, stocks and shares for example) are distributed according to the deceased’s wishes

Grant of Representation
This is a document issued by the Court which enables the person or people named in it to deal with all assets of a deceased person (ie their Estate). It allows money to be collected from any bank or building society accounts, property to be sold or transferred and for debts to be paid. There are three types of Grant of Representation and the Probate Practice can advise on these.

Gross Value of Estate
The total value of the deceased’s property before deducting liabilities.

Intestate

A person who has died and not left a legally valid will (see our blog piece on this)

Intestacy
The situation whereby someone has died without leaving a legally valid Will

Legacy
An amount of money or property left to someone in a Will

Letter of Administration
This is the documentation given by the Registrar to appoint people to handle a person’s Estate in cases where there are no Executors appointed, still living or willing to carry out the Executor’s duties. It should be noted that it is courteous to ask a person if they are happy to be an Executor, before naming them in a Will.

Liabilities
Debts

Net Value of Estate
The value after deducting liabilities.

Probate
The term used in England and Wales for applying for the right to deal with a deceased person’s Estate which is often also referred to as administering the Estate. Different terms are used depending on whether or not the person in question left a will

Testator / testatrix (f)
A testator is a person who has written and executed a last will and testament that is in effect at the time of his/her death

Will
The legal documentation that allows a person to make decisions on how his / her Estate will be managed and distributed after his death