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Estate Administration - Glossary of Terms

AdministrationPersonal representative of a person who has died without a will or without appointing an executor
BeneficiaryThe person or organization receiving part of the estate or benefitting under a trust
Capital gains taxThe tax charged on the increase in value of assets between acquisition and disposal
CaveatA legal device which will prevent a personal representative from being able to obtain a grant of representation
ChattelsPersonal possessions
CodicilA document written by a testator which varies a Will
Deed of variationA document written by a beneficiary of an estate to vary the distribution of his share of the estate
Discretionary trustA flexible trust where the trustees can decide how and when to give assets to a beneficiary
DomicileThe tax concept that governs the chargeability of inheritance tax in the UK
EstateEverything owned by the deceased on the date of death 
Executor Someone appointed under a Will to act as a deceased’s personal representative 
Guardian The person, after the death of the parents, appointed to look after the interests and welfare of children under the age of 18 
Grant of representation The legal document (e.g., probate or letters of administration) needed by the personal representative to administer an estate 
Inheritance tax The tax that arises when someone dies or sometimes when gifts are made into trust during your lifetime 
Interest in possession The right to receive the income generated by the assets held on trust 
Intestacy The legal rules that apply when someone dies without a Will 
Joint tenancy A way to own property and ensure that on death it will pass to the surviving owner, irrespective of the terms of any Will 
Legacy A specific gift under a Will 
Legatee The person who receives a specific gift under a Will 
Letters of administration The legal document issued to an administrator to enable the estate to be administered 
Liabilities What is owed by the deceased at the time of death and which are deductible for inheritance tax purposes 
Nil rate band The amount we can all give away which will be free of inheritance tax 
Oath The document that a personal representative needs to swear before the grant of representation can be issued 
Personal representative The person who is responsible for administering the deceased’s estate 
Power reserved When an appointed executor doesn’t take out a grant of representation but might still want to act as an executor in the future 
Probate The legal document issued to an executor confirming the validity of the Will and enabling the executor to administer the estate 
Probate registry The branch of the High Court responsible to overseeing the administration of estates 
Renunciation The procedure an appointed executor will need to follow if decides he never wants to act in the estate 
Residuary estate The bulk of the estate after the payment of legacies, liabilities and any expenses connected with the administration of the estate 
Settlement Another name for a trust 
Tenancy in common A way to own property jointly but still control the destination of your share of the property on death 
Testator Someone who makes a Will 
Transferable nil rate band A second nil rate band available on the death of a surviving spouse or civil partner 
Trust Where assets are held on certain terms by trustees for beneficiaries 
Trustee Someone who holds assets in trust for the benefit of someone else 
Will The document that records your wishes about the distribution of your estate