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Wills and Estates Glossary of Terms

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Writing a Will is an important moment in your life and understanding the different legal terms used can make it an easier and more understandable process.

What is a Will?

A Will is a legal document that details what you would like to happen to your property, assets, and dependants after you die. It can also contain your wishes for your funeral.

What is an Executor?

An Executor is a person or group of people who are responsible for collecting your assets, paying any taxes, and distributing your estate in accordance with your Will.

What is a Legacy?

A Legacy is a gift detailed in your Will. So, you can leave a Legacy of cash, or shares for example.

What is a Devise?

A Devise is a gift of immovable property, an example would be a house or a flat.


A bequest (or bequeathing) is the act of leaving something in a Will, so you can bequest a legacy to someone.

What are Testamentary Expenses?

These are the legal costs that are incurred in winding up your estate.

What is my Estate?

Your Estate is everything that you own at the time of your death. Your Residuary Estate is what is left after all of your debts, funeral expenses, and the cost of winding up your Estate have been taken into account.

What is a beneficiary?

A Beneficiary is someone who benefits from your Will.

What is a Guardian?

A Guardian is a person who you appoint in your Will to take over parental rights for any children aged under 18. Read more about Guardianships here.

What is a Trust?

A trust is an arrangement where a person (the Trustee) holds legal ownership of money or property for the benefit of another person. An example might be for young adults who may not be financially responsible enough to manage a large inheritance. Find out more about Trusts.

What does Intestacy/Intestate mean?

This term is used if you die without a Will in place. The law states where your Estate will be distributed, usually to close relatives. If you are unmarried but have a partner, Intestacy laws will not consider them, so they would not receive an inheritance, no matter how long you have been together.

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We offer legal advice on Wills and Trusts. If you would like to contact us or book a consultation with a member of our team please fill in the 'Make an Enquiry' form or call us on: 01795 472291 or email

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