If you are planning your estate, you may be feeling overwhelmed by the amount of technical vocabulary involved. Here we explain ten important terms you should be aware of when you are getting your affairs in order.
Your estate is everything that makes up your net worth, including any land, property, cash, stocks and shares or other assets that you own or in which you have a controlling interest.
The term probate can be used in two senses. When you apply for probate, you are requesting the legal right to deal with a person’s estate. When you conduct probate, you are administering a person’s Will and estate.
A beneficiary of your Will is someone who will gain a benefit or gift from you through your Will.
Your executor administers your Will and estate after your death.
A trustee holds and manages property and assets for a beneficiary. The trustee has a fiduciary duty to the beneficiary, which means they must make decisions relating to the trust in the best interests of that person.
A trust is the term for the arrangement under which a trustee holds an asset for a beneficiary. Trusts can be used for many purposes, including:
- to fund future expenses for your children or grandchildren, such as tuition fees or a property purchase;
- to provide for a young or vulnerable family member;
- manage the levels of inheritance tax your estate incurs.
You can leave money or another asset to a person in your Will, either as an outright gift or by having it held in trust for them. You can impose conditions on the gift.
A codicil is a legal document that allows you to modify your Will without having to write a new one. Codicils should only be used for minor changes as they can introduce ambiguity.
9. Attestation clause
An attestation clause in a Will describes the circumstances in which the Will was signed and witnessed. It is not required for a Will to be valid, however, it makes it much easier to obtain probate as it assures the court that the Will was executed correctly. Without it, an affidavit will be required as evidence.
If you have not written a Will, or your Will is legally invalid, you are at risk of dying intestate. This would mean your estate is divided in line with intestacy rules, which can have unexpected consequences.
Wills and Estate Planning Lawyers, Bournemouth
Whether you are drafting your Will, establishing a trust or trying to grasp any other area of estate planning, we are here to guide you through the process.