Legacy Gifts glossary

The language of Will writing can seem complicated and daunting. That’s why we’ve put together this explanation of some of the most common terms that you may come across. If you are in any doubt about anything you read here, your solicitor will be able to help you.

Assets

Everything that you own, i.e. your house, money, investments and personal possessions like furniture and jewellery.

Beneficiary

Any person or organisation that receives a gift in your Will.

Codicil

A simple legal document which amends an existing Will.

Estate

The total sum of your possessions, property and money left at your death after debts have been paid.

Executor

A person/persons named in your Will who will administer your estate in accordance with the final directions set out in your Will. An Executor may also be a Beneficiary.

Inheritance Tax

The 40% tax paid when you die on the proportion of your estate that is over the nil-rate band threshold. This threshold varies every tax year. All gifts in your Will to charity are free of inheritance tax.

Intestate

The term for a person who dies without having a Will. Under the Rules of Intestacy, if you die without a Will certain relations are entitled to apply for your estate. If you do not have any surviving blood relations the state will apply for your estate.

Legacy

Any gift you leave in your Will to a person or charity.

Liabilities

All your debts, including your mortgage and other money you owe.

Life interest

The right of a beneficiary to benefit from part or all of your estate for their lifetime. For example, in your Will you give a relative/friend the right to live in a property for their lifetime.

Probate

The legal process by which your Executors administer your estate in accordance with your Will.

Residue

The total sum of your possessions, property and money left at your death after debts and gifts of fixed sums to beneficiaries have been paid.

Testator

A person who has made a Will.