Estate Planning Glossary

You’ll often find unusual words and phrases in Wills and Powers of Attorney, so here is a brief guide to what some of them mean.

  • Administrator – The person who distributes an estate where there is no Will.
  • Assets – The things that make up your estate. These can be investments, property, cash etc.
  • Attestation – Correctly signing, with witnesses, your Will.
  • Attorney – A person that you appoint to look after your Health and Welfare / Property and Financial Affairs / both. This can either be at a time when Mental Capacity has been lost, or immediately, depending on the drafting of the document.
  • Beneficiary – A person or organisation that receives from either an estate or from a trust.
  • Bequests – A gift of property left in a Will.
  • Chattels – There is a legal definition, but it is effectively any movable personal property that isn’t used for business.
  • Codicil – An update made to an existing Will. This must be signed and witnessed in the same way to a Will. Falling quickly out of fashion.
  • Crown – Where it all (could) go if you don’t make a Will.
  • Domicile – There are complex rules surrounding domicile. It is usually based on the country you were born in.
  • Donor – A person granting Power of Attorney in an LPA or EPA.
  • Enduring Power of Attorney (EPA) – This has now been superceded by Lasting Power of Attorney. (LPA)
  • Estate – The ‘stuff’ you own
  • Executor – The person in a Will who is legally responsible for ensuring your wishes are carried out.
  • Guardian – For many people this is the most important appointment in a Will. They are the people who have agreed to take care of your children should you pass away before they are 18.
  • Intestacy – The state of dying without a valid Will.
  • Legacy – A specific gift of an amount of money left in a Will.
  • Testator – The person writing a Will. Female testators are sometimes referred to as Testatrix.
  • Trustee – A person given the responsibility of holding assets until another condition is satisfied.  For example, holding funds for minors until they reach majority.


More to follow!