Glossary of common words

Below is a list of words commonly found when creating a Will

A person appointed by you in a Lasting Power of Attorney to look after your Affairs and/or Personal Welfare if you become unable to do so yourself.



Any person or organisation (e.g. a Charity) that you leave a legacy, and/or all or part of your Residuary Estate, in your Will.


Civil Partners:

Two people of the same sex who have undergone a so-called ‘gay marriage’ since the ‘Civil Partnership Act’ was passed in 2004.



To change an existing Will you can write a document called a ‘codicil’ describing the changes to be made to the Will. The original Will document, plus the ‘codicil’, then comprise the new Will.You can write as many ‘codicils’ as you like, but as you can imagine things can soon get messy with so many documents to look after. Your Will be done removes this by allowing you to amend and change your Will as often as you wish for free. This is one of the major benefits of our service.



The people you choose to make your Will happen. Their job is to obtain probate, pay any debts you may have, distribute any gifts/legacies you have left in the Will and then distribute your Residuary Estate to your beneficiaries.


Funeral arrangements:

Directions you can give in your Will regarding your wishes such as details of your burial, cremation, etc. These are not legally binding on your Executors unless you forbid cremation.



A person with legal control or responsibility for a child under 18 when nobody with parental responsibility remains alive or able/willing to act. Your Will allows you to legally appoint Guardians: you simply name them on the online form, and we generate the legal wording.



When someone dies without making a Will, they are said to have died ‘intestate’.


Joint Tenants:

If you and one or more other people own a property together, then you will own it either as Joint Tenants or as Tenants in Common.

Lasting Power of Attorney:

There are TWO types of Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA):-
One where you appoint one or more attorneys to look after your Property & Financial Affairs should you become unable to do so yourself, and one where you appoint one or more attorneys to look after your Personal Welfare (i.e. take decisions about how you are looked after, where you live, medication you are given, etc.) should you become unable to do so yourself.



A gift in a Will – for example a specific item, (sometimes called a ‘Specific Legacy’) or a gift of money (sometimes called a ‘Pecuniary Legacy’) or a gift of a house or property, etc.


Obtaining probate:

After you have died, your Executors must take your Will to the nearest Probate Office (which can be found online) and apply for Probate. At the successful conclusion of the process, your Executors are given an official document called a ‘Grant of Representation’. This effectively makes them the legal owners of your Estate (e.g. they can legally access your bank accounts) and enables them to distribute it.


Parental Responsibility:

Unless she has it removed by a court, a child’s mother has parental responsibility. So (if he was married to her at the time, or if he successfully applies for it) does the father. Your Will allows you to appoint Guardians who automatically have legal responsibility for any child for whom you have parental responsibility, should you die and nobody with parental responsibility remains alive.


Residuary Estate:

What is left of your Estate after the deduction of inheritance tax and debts, the expenses of administration (i.e. expenses incurred by your Executors in obtaining probate and then distributing your Estate), the cost of your funeral, and after the distribution of any gifts/legacies you have specified in your Will.



(or testatrix if female) This is the legal term for the person who has made the Will – i.e. you.



To make your Will legal, it must be signed by you in the presence of two witnesses, who must not only see you sign it but also be able to testify (if ever required) that you understood its contents and were of sound mind. A witness cannot be a beneficiary of the Will. If this ‘rule’ is broken, the Will remains legally valid but the witness loses all of his/her entitlement.