Will Jargon Buster

Confused? We’re here to help

At Legacy Wills & Estate Planning, we believe writing something as important as a Will should be a straightforward and rewarding experience. The following is a list of legal terms, which may help you if you are considering your options for writing a Will, or reviewing an existing Will. You can also have a look at our Frequently Asked Questions page [link to Frequently Asked Questions] for an explanation of any unfamiliar legal terms. If you have any further queries at all, we would be delighted to speak to you. Do get in touch with us by phone on 0345 2600 600, or contact us via our online contact form.

What is Probate?

Probate is the process of winding up an estate after someone dies. Usually an executor is appointed to administer the estate. The process involves obtaining a grant of representation from the court that is required by banks and other financial institutions holding the deceased’s assets.

What is a Beneficiary?

A beneficiary is anyone who benefits from a Will.

What is a Testator?

The testator is a person who has made a valid Will.

What is an intestate estate?

An intestate estate is one where there is no valid Will. If you die intestate, your estate will be distributed according to the intestacy rules of England and Wales.

What is an Executor?

An executor is appointed by name in a Will, and it is the duty of the executor to administer the Will. The legal responsibility falls on the executor to gather in all the assets on the estate; keep accounts of the estate of any outgoings or income; pay out debts and funeral expenses and distribute the estate in accordance with the terms of the Will.

What is an Administrator?

This is the name given to a court appointed executor where there is no valid Will.

What is a Specific Legacy?

A specific legacy is a gift of a particular item or asset in a Will, bequeathed to a specified beneficiary.

What is a General Legacy?

This is a legacy payable out of the general estate, often described at a pecuniary legacy. This could be a sum of money or shares in a property.

What is a Trust?

A Trust is a legal relationship created as way for property to be held by two trustees minimum for the benefit of another.

Read more about Trusts.

What is a Trustee?

A trustee is a person or body entrusted with looking after property for the benefit of a beneficiary.

What is a Mirror Will?

A Mirror Will is one of two Wills, created for someone who is married, in a civil partnership or cohabiting and want both Wills to be similarly drawn up, protecting each other if one or both should die, and also protecting any children. Although partners living together can just as easily have two separate Wills, making a Mirror Will can give reassurance to partners, especially in today’s more complex modern family setups, where the absence of a Will could mean your children or partner will not benefit from your estate.

Read more about Mirror Wills.

What is a Living Will?

A Living Will (or Advance Directive) is a document expressing your views on how you would like to be treated in a situation where you are unable to communicate. A Living Will is not a Will in the usual sense; as it’s only function is to provide a statement of your medical treatment choices if your condition is such that you cannot communicate with your doctors.

Read more about Living Wills.

What is a Lasting Power of Attorney?

A Lasting Power of Attorney is a legal document stating the authority given by one person to another to take care of their personal affairs and/or welfare. This can include making financial decisions, paying bills, making decisions about their home and property as well as making treatment and care decisions. In the absence of a power of attorney and in the event that you are unable to make decisions for yourself, your loved ones would have to apply for a guardianship through the court. You will also not have any say as to who can be appointed as guardian. Putting a power of attorney in place in advance of a situation where you are unable to make decisions for yourself, can give assurance that your affairs and welfare will be looked after by someone you trust. There are two types of power of attorney arrangements to consider; one for health and welfare, and another for property and finance.

Read more about Lasting Power of Attorney.


After my initial enquiry about making my will I had a phone call from a member of LegacyWills team, namely Siobhan O’Toole.She explained everything in simple language so that I knew exactly what I had to do. She was very patient when answering my questions, which made me decide to go ahead with using LegacyWills.

Betty Forny, 5 Days ago

The team at legacy wills have been very helpful and extremely courteous when talking through the full process with me. Would highly recommend.

Miss Jane Adiller, 7 Days ago

I found the advisor extremely helpful, explaining clearly any points which I was unsure about. I received my Will some days later and was pleased that the company followed up to check that I was happy with it. I did not feel pressured in any way and I would recommend this company to anyone wishing for a straightforward and efficient service.

Linda Leary, 9 Days ago

Legacy wills explained every step very clearly and anything you forgot to ask they encouraged you to contact them, they also made you feel that no question was to big or small they would always find the answer.

Juliet Patricia, 20 Days ago

Everything I requested was handled with patience and total professionalism, and the end result was a very simple and straightforward process which covered everything that I wanted. Thank you very much Legacywills.

Ian Slater, Over a month ago

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