FREE Newsletter
Enter your details to receive our Quarterly Newsletter and Weekly Client Alerts

Express Enquiry
    All fields are required

Wills and Estates Terminology

 

Click on the letters below to quickly find the term you’re searching for:

A | B | C | D | | F | | H | I | J | K | L | M | N | O | P | Q | | S | T | U | V | W | X | Y | Z

A

 

Ademption

This occurs when a gift of a specific asset referred to in a will no longer exists. For example, the will provides for the deceased’s 1975 Rolls Royce to be gifted to one of his grandsons. Before his death, the deceased sold the said vehicle, which means it no longer exists.

Administrator

Means a person or corporation such as the Public Trustee appointed to administer the estate of a deceased person who dies without a will or with a will but without an executor or the executor dies or is unable or unwilling to act as executor

Attorney

The person who received the power to act on behalf of another. The terms grantee or donee may also be used.

 

B

 

Beneficiary

Someone who receives a benefit under a will.

 

C

 

Capacity

Capacity in law refers to a person’s ability to perform certain acts. A common example is preparing a will or entering a contract. Examples of situations which affect a person’s capacity are age (e.g. a person under 18 cannot be a witness to a will) or mental state (e.g. mental illness).

Certified copy
A copy of any original document which has been signed by certain individuals, such as a Justice of the Peace or solicitor. The person signing the copy verifies the document is a true copy of the original.

Codicil
A document signed as a will but which amends an existing will. Codicils are less common nowadays.

 

D

 

Deceased estate
This consists of all assets owned by the deceased at the date of death.

 

E

 

Enduring guardianship
The appointment of an enduring guardian pursuant to the provisions of the Guardianship Act 1987 (NSW).

Enduring power of attorney
This is a type of power of attorney which continues to operate after the grantor loses mental capacity.

Estate
All the assets of a deceased person wherever located.

Executor/executrix
The person nominated in a person’s will who administers the terms of the wills. Executor is considered the term used for the male person and executrix refers to the female.

 

G

 

General power of attorney
This power of attorney allows the attorney to act on behalf of the grantor’s behalf without any restrictions. This may also be called an unlimited power of attorney.

Gift
A gift to a beneficiary in a will. It replaces the expressions “bequest” or “devise”.

 

I

 

Inheritance
A benefit received via a will upon death of a person.

Intestacy/intestate
Is where a person dies without a will or the will is invalid. It can also extend to situations where the will has been invalidly executed.

 

L

 

Legacy
A cash gift in a will.

Legal personal representative
The executor or administrator of the estate of a deceased person.

Letters of administration
An official document granted by the court to allow an estate to be administered where either the person has died intestate, the will is invalid, there is no executor or there are proceeds remaining in the estate which are not detailed in the will.

Limited power of attorney
A power of attorney which has restrictions placed on the attorney (i.e. the attorney may only be able to act on the donor’s behalf under certain circumstances).

 

P

 

Power of attorney
An official document which allows one person to act on behalf of another. The person granting the power of attorney is the “donor” and the person receiving the power is the “donee”. There are different powers of attorney (e.g. general, enduring) which provide different powers to the donee.

Probate
An official document which states the will of a deceased person is their last will and testament. It allows the administration of the estate by the executor to proceed.

 

R

 

Reseal
A grant of representation made by a court in the British Commonwealth which local courts (where the assets are located) will seal with the seal of the local court enabling the executor to deal with assets within the local jurisdiction.

Residuary estate
Those assets of a deceased person which remain after the payment of all debts, funeral and testamentary expenses and any specific gifts or legacies.

 

T

 

Testator/testatrix
The person who has made the will. Testator refers to a male and testatrix to a female.

 

W

 

Will
A document which outlines how a person wishes the assets of the estate to be distributed to their nominated beneficiaries. There are certain requirements to ensure the will is valid.