Legal Jargon Explained

In the world of Estate Planning, there are a lot of legal terms that you need to wrap your head around! In order to make things easier and cut through all the jargon, we’ve put together a handy list of terms that simplifies things…

Assets

These are simply the valuable things that you own. They can be things like property, cars, money, valuable items.

Beneficiary

People that you name in your Will that will benefit from it. They can be anyone from your children to close friends - anyone that you’d like to leave something to.

Estate

The term for everything that you own at the time of your death.

Executor

The Executor of a Will is someone that you appoint. They have the responsibility of dealing with your estate upon your death. They will handle things like locating financial documents, paying any debts, inheritance tax, and sharing out the estate to name a few.

Guardians

This is something really important to consider if you have children who are minors. Many people also appoint guardians for their pets. Guardians are people who you choose and name in your Will to look after your dependents should anything happen to you.

Intestacy

Rules of Intestacy apply when someone dies without a valid Will. If you do not have a Will upon your death, these rules may mean that your loved ones may not be entitled to receive anything from your estate. For example, unmarried partners and step children aren’t covered by Intestacy rules, which is why it’s so important to have a valid Will in place!

Power of Attorney

Power of Attorney gives someone the power to act on your behalf, in order to make legal decisions about things like your property, finances or medical care should you be unable to make these decisions yourself. Powers of Attorney run whilst you are alive and your Will comes into effect on death. The two never run consecutively.

Probate

This is the collective term used to describe the legal and financial process of dealing with the assets of someone who has died. If the deceased had a Will then they obtain their power from the Will and can apply for a Grant of Probate. This means that the application is much easier. If someone dies without a Will, they will apply for a Grant of Letters of Administration (see Intestacy).

Will

Finally, a Will is a very important legal document that everybody needs. It sets out what you’d like to happen to your estate when you die. It has to be signed by the Testator (person who has made the Will), and witnessed by two adults who are not beneficiaries or the spouse of a beneficiary, and it must be witnessed in the presence of the Testator and each other.