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Probate glossary

Absolute interest An interest whereby the beneficiary is completely entitled immediately and without restriction or condition.
Abatement A reduction, normally made proportionally, of the amount of legacies or debts or claims where an estate is insufficient to pay all in full.
Accounts The financial statement prepared by the Administrator for the beneficiaries of the estate.
Accumulation The retaining of an re-investment of interest.
Accrued income Income produced by an asset at the date of death but not due to be paid until a later date (eg Quarterly interest payments).
Acquisition / probate value The value at which either the personal representatives or the beneficiary acquires the assets.
Administration period The period between the date of death and the date of the close of administration.
Administrator A person responsible for winding up the estate of a person who has died leaving no will or the executors of whose will are unable or unwilling to act.
Ad valorem According to the value.
Advancement, power of The power given to pay capital monies held in trust to or for the benefit of a beneficiary of the trust.
Affadavit / oath Written statement by a person called the Deponent�, who signs it and swears or affirms to the truth of its contents.
Agreed value The probate value as formally agreed by the Capital Taxes Office where inheritance tax is payable.
Application for Grant of Probate (See Grant of representation).
Application for Letters of Administration (See Grant of representation�)
Appointment, power of A power given by will or deed to appoint a person or class of persons to inherit an interest, usually from settled funds.
Apportionment The division of income in proportionate shares between certain beneficiaries, calculated on a day-to-day basis.
Appropriation The transfer of an asset (instead of its sale proceeds) on account of a legacy or share of residue.
Asset "A component of the estate at the time of death. E.g. house, shares, personal effects."
Attorney A person appointed by another to act in his place.
Auction A public sale of property to the highest bidder.

Bare trust A trustee is a "bare trustee" where the beneficiary of the trust is absolutely entitled to the assets in the trust, or would be absolutely entitled if he or she was not a minor.
Base value See Probate Value
Beneficiary "Individual or organisation entitled to benefit from the estate. A beneficiary can be a residuary beneficiary, a legatee or both."
Bequeath Action of passing an item to a beneficiary.
Bequest Item to be passed to a beneficiary. (See legacy / bequest / devise ).
Bona fide In good faith.
Bona vacantia Assets which are left without an owner on death except the Crown, Duchy of Lancaster or Duchy of Cornwall.
Bonus shares Fully paid-up shares allotted by a company to its shareholders for no consideration, i.e. as a bonus.

Call Demand upon the holder of partially paid shares to pay the balance.
Capital Gains Tax Tax on disposing of an asset if you have made a chargeable gain. Typically, you make a gain if the asset is worth more than it was when you acquired it. See also Inland Revenue CGT information
Capital Taxes Office The division of the Inland Revenue which deals with all aspects of inheritance tax, capital transfer tax and estate duty.
Caveat A warning entry made at a probate registry to prevent a grant of representation being issued.
Charges (ie what the administrator should charge in fees)
Chattels (See personal chattels)
Chose in action Right of action to recover a sum due or an entitlement to an interest in an estate.
Chain or representation The legal system by which the executor of a sole or last surviving executor becomes the executor of that testator.
Citation Calling upon someone to do something.
Clearance certificate / certificate of discharge A certificate issued by the Capital Taxes Office discharging a person liable to inheritance tax from the payment of any further inheritance tax subject to certain conditions.
Codicil A legal document by which a person amends his/her will.
Collection of Asset See “realisation�.
Commissioner for Oaths A person entitled to administer oaths; solicitors who have practicing certificates and Fellows of the Institute of Legal Executives have the powers of a Commissioner for Oaths.
Commorientes The definition of the situation where persons die together in circumstances where it is not certain who died first.
Contingent gift A gift conditional on the happening of a particular event, e.g. beneficiary reaching the age of 21.
Corrective account An Inland Revenue account providing details of alterations to figures previously submitted to the Capital Taxes Office.
Court of Protection The office of the Supreme Court for the protection and management of property and effects of persons under mental disability.
Covenant A legally binding obligation contained in a deed.
CPD points Continuing Practice Development points (training scheme).

De Bonis Non Unadministered assets.
Deceased The person who has died.
Deed of Variation / deed of family arrangement (See instrument of variation)
Demonstrative gift A gift payable out of a particular fund.
Devastavit Wasting / negligent action.
Devise A gift of freehold or leasehold property by will. (See legacy / bequest / devise).
Dialog A Probate Plus window or entry screen that requires user attention before it can be closed. No other activities are available whilst the dialog is open. A good example is a message dialog informing you of an action or a data entry dialog to add or edit a posting.
Disclaimer A refusal to accept something, for example a legacy.
Discretionary Trust A trust in which the shares of each beneficiary are not fixed by the settlor in the trust deed but may be varied at the discretion of some person or persons (often the trustees).
Distribution Process of paying all or part of a residuary beneficiaries entitlement of estate residue to the residuary beneficiary.
Dividend Payments made out of profits to shareholders of a company.
Domicile The country in which a person is deemed to have his permanent home.
Donatio mortis causa A gift made in contemplation of death.
Donee The recipient of a gift.
Donor The person making the gift.

Election A choice.
Engross To prepare a document for signature.
Equitable interest An interest which arises in equity as contrasted with the legal estate.
Estate Accounts Accounts recording the financial transactions during the administration period.
Estate in fee simple An absolute freehold interest.
Ex gratia payment A payment made without legal obligation as a favour.
Excepted estate An estate where no Inland Revenue account is necessary if certain criteria are fulfilled.
Executor A person appointed by a will or codicil to wind up the estate.
Executor de son tort A person who meddles with the estate of a deceased person.
Exit charge A charge to inheritance tax which arises on distributions made out of a discretionary trust.

Final distribution Process of completing payment of a residuary beneficiaries entitlement of estate residue to the residuary beneficiary.
Final accounts
Fixed / floating charge A charge or mortgage fixed to a specific asset / all assets in general for the time being of a going concern such as a limited company.
Fraud on a power Failure to exercise bona fide a power of appointment intended by the donor.

Gift A gratuitous transfer of money or assets.
Gift Inter Vivos Gifts made during lifetime.
Grant of Probate (See Grant of Representation�)
Grant of Representation The court order authorizing a person to deal with the assets of the deceased. If a will is proved by executors, it is more precisely called a grant of probate; otherwise, a grant of letters of administration (with or without a will annexed).
Guardian Person appointed to protect the interests of a minor.

Half blood Descended from one common ancestor.
Heritage Property Certain assets defined in the Inheritance Tax Act 1984 of national importance.
Hotchpot The requirement to bring certain assets into account, to secure an equal division.

In specie Taken as it is and not any equivalent.
Item value Where an asset is made of more than one part the item value refers to the value of each part. E.g. price of an individual share.
Immovable property Freehold and leasehold property or its equivalent in foreign jurisdictions.
Income debits Transactions that can be posted against the receipt of estate income to reduce the income available to the matter.
Indemnity An agreement to make good any loss suffered as a result of an act or failure to act by another.
Inheritance Tax Tax levied on value of estate exceeding the inheritance tax threshold. See more at Inland Revenue Capital Taxes.
Interim accounts A financial statement produced during administration of the estate showing the position of the administration at that time.
Interim distribution Process of part-completing payment of a residuary beneficiaries entitlement of estate residue to the residuary beneficiary.
Intestate Died without leaving a will. See also Intestacy�.
Inquest An inquiry held by a coroner into a death of a person who appears to have died in suspicious circumstances.
Insolvency Shortfall of funds to meet all liabilities.
Instrument of variation A document whereby the will or intestacy provisions of a deceased person can be varied.
Inter vivos During lifetime.
Interest in possession (See life tenant).
Interest in reversion (See reversion / remainder).
Intestacy The situation where a person dies without making a will fully disposing of all his assets. The administration of intestate� estate is governed by the Administration of Estate Act 1925.
Investments A general description of a person's savings in cash form or other, e.g. stocks and shares.
ISA - Individual Savings Account
Issue Children, grandchildren and all other remoter descendants.

Joint and several Where two or more persons may be liable individually and jointly or may act together or separately.
Joint tenants Two or more persons who own land together each whose interest will pass by survivorship, on death, to the surviving co-owners (to be contrasted with tenants in common�).
Judicial trustee A trustee appointed by the court under the Judicial Trustees Act 1896.

Law Systems Limited Developers of Probate Plus software.
Legacy / bequest / devise A gift of chattels / assets by will.
Legatee Recipient of a legacy. (See also legacy / bequest / devise ).
Lapse Generally, where a beneficiary dies before the testator, a devise or bequest fails or lapses.
Leasehold Land held under a lease for a number of years.
Legal estate The estate capable of being transferred or conveyed at common law.
Letters of administration (See grant of representation).
Lex situs The legal system which applies in the place where the asset is situated.
Life tenant / life interest A person entitled to income only, not capital. (See also tenant for life (under Settled Land Act 1925)).
Locus standi The right to be heard.
London Gazette Official paper of Government for publication of notices and appointments.

Maintenance, power of The power of trustees to apply income from funds held in trust to or for the benefit of a beneficiary.
Market value The value as agreed between a seller and a willing buyer who are not connected with each other in any way.
Marshalling Order of payment as between creditors and beneficiaries.
Matrimonial home The place of residence of a husband and wife.
Minor / infant Person under the age of 18 years.
Moveable property The opposite of immoveable property (qv), e.g. personal chattels, investments etc.

Next of kin The nearest blood relatives.
Nil rate band The amount of the inheritance tax threshold at any time chargeable at nil percent.
Nomination / nominated property Assets which are capable of being directed to a particular beneficiary outside a will or estate.
Notary Public A legal officer appointed by the Court of Faculties whose public office and duties relate to legal documents for international use.

Office copy Official copies of documents, with a seal of the appropriate officer.
Official Solicitor Solicitor brought in to act where services are required by the Supreme Court.

Partnership The relationship which subsists between persons carrying on business in common with a view to profit� (Partnership Act 1890, s1).
Payment into court The depositing of money into court.
Pecuniary Of money / cash.
PECS Per Estate Charging System - Probate Plus can operate as a pay-as-you-go system. We call it "PECS".
PEP - Personal Equity Plan
Per Capita Distribution by heads, i.e. individually, to be contrasted with per stirpes.
Per Stirpes Distribution �by stocks�, i.e. by descent according to the branches of a family tree (to be contrasted with per capita).
Personal chattels Essentially personal effects; more precisely defined in the Administration of Estates Act 1925, s55(1)(x). Does not include any chattels at death for business purposes and any money or securities for money.
Personal representative An executor or administrator.
Personalty Personal property such as cash, investments and chattels (to be contrasted with freehold or leasehold property).
Potentially Exempt Transfer A gift which is not taxable at the date of the gift but may be brought into charge at a later date.
Power of attorney Formal deed by which one person appoints another to act on his behalf or represent him.
Power reserved The power reserved by a named executor who declines to act to do so at a later date.
Prima facie At first appearance.
Pro rata Proportionately.
Probate (See grant of representation).
Probate Value The initial (usually "at-death") value of an asset.
Professional bodies
* OSS Office for the Supervision of Solicitors
* STEP Society of Trust and Estate Practitioners

Realisation Process of selling or collecting an asset of the estate - turns an asset into cash.
Realty / real property Land and buildings, either freehold or leasehold.
Related property Shares or assets owned by different people which may be taken together for valuation purposes (a term used for inheritance tax purposes).
Renouncing probate The act whereby a named executor signs a legal document which cancels his/her appointment from the start.
Renvoi The referral of a matter from one legal system to another.
Residuary beneficiary The person entitled to the whole of the deceased's estate after the payment of all debts, funeral expenses and testamentary expenses and legacies.
Residuary estate / residue What remains of the estate after payment of all debts, legacies and all taxes and expenses.
Retained asset Assets or portions of assets that have not yet been realised, appropriated or transferred.
Reversion / remainder / remainderman / revisionary interest The right (or the person entitled to) property / asset, the enjoyment of which is deferred.
Revival The revival of something which had come to an end, e.g. a will may be revived by re-publication.
Revocation Cancellation by an act, event or order of court.

Satisfaction The extinction of a debt of obligation by performance or payment.
Settled land Land limited to persons in succession for which there is no trust for sale and accordingly is governed by the Settled Land Act 1925.
Settlement / trust / declaration of trust The act whereby assets / land are directed to be held for persons in succession or for minors.
Specific legacy A particular part of a deceased's estate.
STEP - Society of Trust and Estate Practitioners
Sui juris Of full legal capacity, i.e. over 18 and with full mental capacity.

Tenant for life A person entitled to a limited interest in land under the Settled Land Act 1925. (See also life tenant).
Tenants in common Two or more persons who own land in undivided shares which pass on death under the terms of a will or intestacy (to be contrasted with joint tenants).
Testament A will.
Testate Dying leaving a will.
Testator Deceased who left a will.
Treasury Solicitor Legal advisor to the Treasury and certain other government departments.
Trustee Person who is holding assets on trust.

Vest Give legal rights to.
Vested interest Right to immediate or future entitlement.

Whole blood Descended from the same pair of ancestors.
Will A disposition or declaration by which a person provides for the distribution of his estate on death. To be valid the document must comply with the Wills Act 1963 (amended).

XD - See Ex Dividend

Some portions of the glossary are reproduced from Sweet and Maxwell's Probate Practice Manual.

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