Glossary of Terms used in Wills and Probate


To collect the assets, pay all debts of the estate, and distribute the remainder to the Beneficiaries or Trustees 


The person who deals with the estate of a person who has died intestate (without a Will)


The person entitled to receive a gift from or share of the estate


A gift of a particular object (e.g. wedding ring)


Where a person considers their home country to be.


All the possessions of the person, who has died, including all houses and property, cars, investments, money and belongings, less their debts


The person appointed in the Will to deal with the estate of the person who has died

Execution of the Will

The signing and witnessing of the Will.

Grant of Letters of Administration

The document issued to the Administrators by the Probate Registry to authorise them to deal with the estate of the intestate 

Grant of Probate

The document issued to Executors by the Probate Registry to authorise them to deal with the estate

Grant of Representation

General word for applications for Probate or Letters of Administration.


The person appointed by a parent or the court to have the parental responsibility for a child under the age of 18 years.

Inheritance Tax (IHT)

The tax that is to be paid when the total estate of a person who has died is more than the current tax threshold of £325,000


A person who dies without having made a valid Will 


All the blood descendants of a person (children, grandchildren, great grandchildren and so on) 


A gift of money (usually a specific amount)

Memorandum of Wishes

Where a gift in a Will is coupled with a (non-binding) wish that it is to be distributed in accordance with wishes set out separately elsewhere


A person under 18 years of age

Next of kin

The person/s entitled to the estate when a person dies intestate, in accordance with the Rules of Intestacy

Parental Responsibility

The rights and responsibilities that a parent has towards a child and their property 

Personal chattels

Personal belongings including jewellery, furniture, wine, pictures, books and cars, but not money, investments, property or business assets

Personal Representative

A general term for both Administrators and Executors 

Probate Registry

A court within the family division of the High Court, that deals with probate matters

Proving the Will

Making the application for probate to the Probate Registry


The remainder of the estate after all debts, funeral, and other expenses have been paid and legacies and bequests made 


To cancel a Will legally


Person who makes a Will 

Transferrable Nil Rate Band                              

For Married couples or civil partners. On 2nd death to apply for the unused proportion of the Nil Rate Band on 1st death thus in effect having a Nil Rate Band of £650,000 on 2nd death

Trust Fund

Created by Will where assets are held for the benefit of beneficiaries for a specified period of time rather than being paid outright 


Person appointed to manage a Trust Fund created by a Will