When it comes to making or amending your Will, you may come across some legal jargon. This glossary of terms should help you to make sense of it all.

Administrator – If you die without a Will or without appointing an executor, an administrator will be appointed by the court to handle your estate.

Beneficiary - A Person or Organisation who is entitled to receive something as a benefit of instructions in a Will.

Bequest – A gift in a Will. This may take the form of: specific items; sums of money; property; this may be as an immediate gift or held on trust for a specific event or period of time.

Chattels – Personal property including furniture, furnishings, moveable goods and, under English Law, your animals.

Codicil – A separate legally binding document making a change, adding to or altering the terms of your existing Will. With the Codicil the change is made and the rest of the Will is confirmed. This has to be signed and witnessed in the presence of two people, the same way as the Will.

Conditional Bequest – A gift that will only take event if a certain event occurs.

Estate - The total value of all your assets at the time of your death, including money, investments and property.

Executor(s) - Person(s) appointed in a Will to administer the estate. Family members, friends or professional advisors (e.g. solicitor or accountant) can all be your executor(s).

Grant of Probate – A court document confirming the authority of an executor to administer the estate.

Inheritance tax - Tax payable on the value of assets on death (above the threshold of £325,000 for 2009-2016)  Your estate will owe tax on anything above £325,000 inheritance tax threshold when you die ( or 36% if you leave at least 10% to a charity). Dealing with it is one of the biggest single money saving things you can do, as some simple actions can save your estate £100,000

Intestate/Intestacy – Describes a situation when someone dies without having made a Will or where their Will fails to dispose of all their estate.   

Legacy – A Gift left in a Will.

Legatee – A person or organisation who stands to receive a gift in your Will.

Pecuniary / Bequest - A gift in a Will of a specified amount of money. – Bear in mind that because of inflation the value of this gift can be affected over time to overcome this you can ensure the gift is index linked to inflation.

Probate - In order to access the estate the executor needs to apply to the Probate Registry for a document called a Grant of Representation.

Residuary Bequest – Where the residue of your estate (see below) is set aside for, or to be divided between, named beneficiaries.  A gift in a Will of a proportion (%) of an estate.

Residue – The remainder of your estate after payment of debts, funeral expenses and the costs of the administration of the estate, and all specific and other gifts in the Will have been paid.

Specialist Advisor –We recommend that you use a specialist legal advisor when making or updating a Will. Before your appointment it can be useful to make three lists:

  1. Your assets (Property, shares, valuable objects)
  2. People and causes you wish to leave something to.
  3. You may wish to consider who your executors will be. Your executors are responsible for carrying out your wishes as written into your Will – You can choose up to four.

Your specialist legal advisor may give you their own form to fill in prior to your meeting.

Specific Legacy – The gift of a specific item (e.g a painting, car, property, jewellery etc.).

Testator/Testratrix - A person who has made a Will.

Trustee – An individual appointed to administer any part of your estate that you leave under trust for the benefit of others.

Will – A legally binding written document giving instructions about what to do with their estate – stating their wishes regarding disposal of their property/possessions after their death.

Will Registration - Once you have written your Will you may wish to have it added to the National Wills Register see https://www.certainty.co.uk/registerawill/willdetails.ashx

To register your Will with Certainty costs £30.
The registration fee is a one off fee for the life of the Will – there are no ongoing or further registration annual charges.

If you would like more information about leaving a gift in your Will to Cornwall Hospice Care, then please contact Debbie Henshaw, Legacies Manager on 01726 874065 or email Debbie.

This information leaflet has been produced by Cornwall Hospice Care and contains general advice only, which we hope will be of use to you. We recommend you use a solicitor to draw up your Will.

  • Cornwall Hospice Care Legacy Dept. Daniels Lane, Holmbush, St. Austell, Cornwall. PL25 3HS Tel: 01726 874065
  • Registered Office: Mount Edgcumbe Hospice, Porthpean Road St. Austell
  • Charity Registered number 1113140