Glossary of useful terms | Wills, trusts and probate solictors in Leeds, Harrogate, Wakefield, Bradford, Manchester & London

Below is a glossary of common terms associated with Wills, Trusts, Estates and Inheritance. If you would like any further information, then please contact us.

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ACTAPS – The Association of Contentious Trust & Probate Specialists

An organisation of solicitors, barristers and legal executives specialising in contentious trusts and probate work.


When an item stated within a Will is excluded from an Estate at the time of death.


An individual (appointed by the court) responsible for administering your Estate if you die without creating a will.

Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR)

A term that describes methods of settling disputes outside the Court process. Mediation is a form of ADR.


A common type of Dementia that usually originates in one’s 40s or 50s. It usually begins with impaired memory, before moving to impaired thought and speech and finally complete helplessness.


A form filed by the caveator at the local Probate Registry. It stipulates the caveator’s interest which is contrary to the person who is trying to take out a Grant of Administration.


Items or property owned by a person.


The act of being present during the signing of a legal document

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Beddoe Application

An application by an Executor or Trustee for permission from the Court to bring or defend proceedings on behalf of an Estate or Trust.


An individual who is set to receive benefit from a Will or a Trust.


The act of bestowing personal property in a Will.

Book cost

An asset’s original cost.

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Being mentally capable of making a valid contract or Will.

Money or assets used to generate income or held as an investment.

Capital Gains Tax (CGT)

Tax on the profit when selling or giving away an Assetthat has increased in value.


A notice in writing that no grant of administration is to be approved by Court without notice to the person bringing the caveat (the caveator).

Chargeable gift

A gift which may be subject to Inheritance Tax.


Movable personal property. Includes furniture, vehicles, domestic animalsetc.


A document calling on someone to accept or refuse a grant of probate.


A document that amends (rather than replaces) a Will.

Constructive Trust

A Trust imposed by the law as an “equitable remedy.” This generally occurs due to some wrongdoing, where the wrongdoer has acquired legal title to some property and cannot in good conscience be allowed to benefit from it.


Someone (e.g. company or person) to whom money is owed

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Someone who owes money to a Creditor.


A range of disorders within the brain that impair memory, or other thinking abilities.


Misapplication, mismanagement, or the waste (devastation) of the assets of a deceased by his or her personal representative (executor of a will or personal administrator). By such actions the representative is made personally liable for the damage and loss.


A gift by Will of freehold property.


Payment issued to a third party.

Discretionary type trusts

A flexible type of Trust. The Trustees have the discretion to decide who (from a class of beneficiaries named in the Trust) should receive the Capital from the Trust.

Donatio mortis causa

A gift made by somebody in anticipation of their death but isn’t passed over until the Testator dies.


An individual who drafts wills, trusts and other legal documents for their clients

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A Will or other legal document in its final state ready for signing.


Everything you own on your death (e.g. land, buildings, bank accounts, life policies).


The act of signing a legal document.


A person named in a Will as being responsible for handling the deceased’s Estate.


The act of removing an individual from the position of liability.

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A trusted person who acts on behalf of another to manage property or money.

Fraudulent calumny

Dishonest claims made against an intended beneficiary to the testator with the aim of damaging their relationship.

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A medical professional who specialises in the physical and psychological health of elderly people.

‘Golden Rule’

Where a solicitor is instructed to prepare a Will for an aged or seriously ill Testator, the solicitor should arrange for a medical practitioner to both carry out an assessment and provide a written account of the mental capacity of the Testator.

Grant of Letters of Administration

Issued by the Court, this document grants Administrators the right to administer your estate.

Grant of Probate

Issued by the Court, this document grants Executors the right to administer your estate.

Grant of representation

A grant of probate or letters of administration.


An individual who is responsible for caring for a child under 18 in England, Wales and Northern Ireland, or under 16 in Scotland.

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Half Secret Trust

Where the Will states there is a trust but doesn’t include its terms. Only the author of the Will and the Trustees of the Trust are aware of its terms.

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Any money produced by the Capital held (e.g. receipts of rents/ interest/ dividends)

Income tax

Tax payable on income / earnings.

Inheritance Tax (IHT)

A tax which is payable following a person’s death if their Estate is valued above £325,000 .

Interim Grants

Grants generally designed to protect the assets of the estate pending a full grant of administration.


Generally, a description applied to the activities of a person (not and Executor or Administrator) who has interfered with the administration of the deceased’s Estate. That person can be held accountable to the Beneficiaries of the Estate and may be liable to criminal sanctions.

Intestacy rules

The rules that dictate how your Estate will be dispersed if you die without making a Will.


Where one dies without making a Will

Interest in possession trusts

A Trust where the income or benefit must be given to the specific Beneficiary – it is his or hers by right. There may be more than one Beneficiary but they will all have a fixed entitlement.

Inter vivos

A gift made during a person’s lifetime (rather than being left as part of a Will).


A person’s direct descendants. Includes adopted children but not stepchildren.

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The gift of a cash sum or item (excluding property) stated within a Will

Letters of Administration

Where the Registrar names those who are responsible for handling a person’s Estate. This is where is no Will, no executers appointed, none still living or none willing to carry out the Executor’s duties.

Letter of wishes

A document usually accompanying a Will or Trust that can be used to give guidance to a Trustee or Executor.

Life interest

A gift of either money or property that only lasts during the lifetime of the benefiting party. Instructions are usually provided as to what will happen once the life interest is to end.

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Market value

The value a tangible object is worth on a given market.


Where a third party (Mediator) steps in to settle a dispute and reach agreement between two or more parties. See Alternative Dispute Resolution.


An individual who works to bring resolution between two parties caught in a dispute within the setting of a Mediation.

Mirror Will

Similar documents created on behalf of a couple (whether married or nor). They share the same terms as one another and are used where each member of the couple leaves their estate to the other when they die. .


An individual below the age of 18.

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Nil-rate band

The amount that is free from being charged Inheritance Tax. The current amount is £325,000. For a couple who are married or in a civil partnership, the remaining amount can be added to their spouse upon death with a maximum total to be passed on standing at £650,000.

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Pass Over

One can seek to remove someone who would ordinarily be entitled to be Administrator by making an application to Court.

Pecuniary legacy

A financial sum gifted within a Will.

Personal Representative

A nominated person who is the Executor or Administrator of the deceased’s Estate.


The personal property belonging to a deceased person

Potentially Exempt Transfer (PET)

Gifts that are exempt from Inheritance Tax if the donor lives seven years after exchanging.

Power of Attorney

A legal document that grants an individual authority to act on your behalf if your Capacity were to deteriorate.


A person who passes away before the author of the Will.

Probate Registrar

The senior civil servant at each Probate Registry who has power to make decisions relating to Estates and the administration of those Estates.

Probate (grant of)

Official confirmation by the Court of the validity of a Will and the Executors named in it.

Probate Registry

The Government department that issues Grants of Probate/Letters of Administration.

Promissory Estoppel

The legal principle that a promise can be enforceable by law. It occurs where someone makes a promise to another party; that third party then relies on this promise to his detriment.


Trained medical professionals who specialise in diagnosing and treating the mental conditions of older people.

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Real estate/realty

Land and buildings.

Remunerated Executor

Where the Executor receives expenses beyond their usual ‘out of pocket’ expenditure.

Resulting Trust

A form of implied trust which comes into effect when a Trust fails partially or completely. Following this the Settlor of the Trust becomes entitled to assets.


The remaining value of an estate following the deductions of legacies, funeral costs, debts and taxes.

Residuary beneficiary

A person set to receive the Residue of an Estate or Trust.

Reversionary interest

Benefit from a Trust property.

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Sometimes referred to as a trustor, donor or grantor. A Settlor works to establish a Trust, held and administered by a Trustee.

Specific bequest

A specific item that is passed on within a Will

STEP – The Society of Trust and Estate Practitioners.

A professional body for people specialising in family inheritance and succession.

Sham Trust

A trust that has bad intentions that stretch beyond vesting assets of the Trust in the Trustees.

Specific legacy

A specific object that has been gifted within a Will.


An order to appear at Court at a specified time and date.

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Testamentary Capacity

Whether an individual had Capacity to make their last Will. If a person is found to lack the mental Capacity, then the Will will be invalid.


The author of a Will.


A legal arrangement that enables a person to pass on assets to beneficiaries stated with their Will.


See Settlor.


A broad term that can relate to a person in a position of trust to hold assets for another or some who is entrusted with the administration of the Trust.

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Undue Influence

Where an individual has acted against their will due to the pressure of another. Actual coercion must be shown beyond mere persuasion.

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Variation, Deed of

This is a legal document that enables the Beneficiaries to alter their entitlement in a Will even after the death of the Testator.

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A prescribed notice issued by a Probate Registry warning the caveator to file an Appearance within 8 days. This effectively requires him to stipulate his interest which is contrary to the person issuing the Warning or to ask the Court for a hearing (by way of issuing a Summons).


A legal document detailing how a person wants to share their assets following death.

Will drafter/will preparer

A person instructed by an individual to prepare a will on their behalf.

Will Trust

When the trust is created on or shortly after death and the trust provisions are set out in the person’s Will.


A pair of adults who accompany the Will Drafter during the process of signing and dating. The Witness and  their spouse is exempt from any of the Will’s benefits.

Without Prejudice

A phrase often used in the process of negotiation. If offers are made without prejudice, then they will not be considered by the court until after judgment.

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Expert Advice

Paul Sykes


T. 0113 297 3199

Paul is the Head of the Dispute Resolution team at Levi Solicitors. He has many years of experience in estate disputes and is a member of the Association of Contentious Trust and Probate Specialists (ACTAPS).

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Andrew Milburn


T. 0113 297 3181

Andrew is Head of Wills, Probate and Trusts and has experience in a wide range of areas of private client work. Andrew is a Dementia Friend, a member of the Society of Trust and Estate Practitioners (STEP) as well as Solicitors for the Elderly.

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