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We understand that Wills and Probate can be a complicated subject, if you would like help on any of the key terms, please look at our Glossary table below.

Administrator A person appointed when either no Will can be found or there is no executor to carry out the intentions of the Will.
Assets Assets of a person are divided into real and personal assets. Examples of real assets are things like land and buildings. Personal assets are things such as stocks, shares, money and jewellery.
Attorney A person appointed under a Power of Attorney to act on behalf of the donor.
Beneficiary A person who is entitled to receive a gift under a Will.
Bequest A gift of property or money.
Chattels Personal property including furniture and moveable goods but excluding freehold land.
Codicil A document signed the same way as a Will, which amends an existing Will.
Court of Protection An office of the High Court, with the power to make decisions in relation to the property and financial affairs, healthcare and personal welfare of adults (and children in a few cases) who lack capacity.
Deed of variation If you have been left money or a share in a loved one’s estate that you do not wish to receive. This may be for personal reasons or perhaps you would like your share to be passed on to your children or another named beneficiary. You will need to execute a Deed of Variation of the Will within two years of the death date of the deceased for this to be valid.
Deputy An individual appointed by the Court of Protection to act and make decisions on behalf of a person who lacks the mental capacity to make those decisions for themselves.
Enduring Powers of Attorney These were replaced by Lasting Powers of Attorney on 01 October 2007.
Estate Everything a person owns when they die.
Executor A person who is appointed to administer an estate.
Execution of a Will Where a Will is signed and witnessed.
Guardian A person who is appointed to look after children under the age of eighteen.
Inheritance Tax A tax that is levied on a person’s estate which is valued over the Nil Rate Band.
Intestate A person who has died without making a valid Will.
Intestacy Rules If you die without making a valid Will, The Rules of Intestacy will stipulate who is entitled to deal with your estate and who is entitled to benefit from your estate.
Lasting Powers of Attorney A Lasting Powers of Attorney (LPA) is a legal document that enables any individual over the age of 18 who has mental capacity (the donor) to choose another individual or individuals (called Attorneys) to make decisions on their behalf. There are two types of Lasting Powers of Attorney: A property and financial affairs LPA and a health and welfare LPA who will decide where the donor lives, day-to-day care or medical treatment.
Legacy A gift of property or money.
Letters of Administration If the deceased died without a valid Will in place, the Administrators will be required to apply to the Probate Registry for a Grant of Letter of Administration to deal with the assets within the estate.
Joint tenant If the property is owned jointly as joint tenants, then on the death of one joint tenant, the property will automatically pass to the surviving joint tenant.
Mental Incapacity In order to execute any kind of legal document, including a Will and Lasting Powers of Attorney it is necessary for you or your loved one to have the necessary capacity to understand the nature and effect of the document you are signing.
Nil Rate Band A figure set by the government which is the amount that an individual may leave to his or her beneficiaries free of tax.
Ordinary Powers of Attorney Ordinary Powers of Attorney are in place for a set period of time. They are usually set up in cases where the Donor is going to be abroad and/or unable to act for some other reason. Under the power, they will appoint an attorney to have the authority to act on his or her behalf.
Probate The procedure after a person’s death, which confirms the validity of the Will and the authority of the executors to administer the estate.
Residuary Estate This is the balance of an estate after all debts, taxes and specific legacies have been paid. It is shared out according to the terms of the Will or intestacy rules (if there is no Will)
Tenants in common If the property is owned jointly as tenants in common, each co-owner has a defined share in the property which on their death, will pass in accordance with their Will or intestacy rules.  It does not pass automatically to the surviving co-owner.
Testator/Testatrix The person making a Will or Codicil.
Trust   This is an arrangement under which property is held by named people for the benefit of someone else.
Trustee          A person who holds the property for the benefit of someone else.
Will      The document by which a testator gives instructions for the disposal of his/her estate on his/her death.


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If you need help, you can contact our Wills, Probate, Tax & Trusts team on 01332 340 211 or complete this form.


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Derby Head Office:
St. Michael’s Court
St. Michael’s Lane
Tel: 01332 340 211
Fax: 01332 207 601
DX: 729320 Derby 24

54, St. John Street
Tel: 01335 342 208
Fax: 01335 342 010
DX: 26834 Ashbourne

Opening Times:
Our offices are open Monday to
Friday between 8:00am & 6:00pm

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