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Probate Legal Terms Explained


Person appointed to deal with your affairs after your death if you have not made a Will or have not appointed an Executor in your Will


Person named in a Will to receive something from the deceased's Estate


A gift of personal property by Will


Supplement to a Will intended to alter an existing Will.

Enduring Power of Attorney ("EPA")

An EPA allows you to appoint one or more persons to make decisions for you in relation to your assets and financial affairs. These cannot be made anymore and only EPAs created before 1st October 2007 remain in force. They have been replaced by Lasting Powers of Attorney (see below).


Total value of everything you own at the time of your death


Person appointed in a Will to deal with your affairs after your death and to administer your Estate in accordance with the terms of your Will. Executrix is the female version of Executor.

Grant of Probate

Authority given by the Probate Registry to the Executor to deal with the affairs of the deceased


Term used when the person who has died has not made a Will.

Lasting Power of Attorney ("LPA")

EPAs have now been replaced by LPAs which extend to personal welfare matters as well as property and financial affairs. An LPA dealing with property and financial affairs can be used before or after the Donor (i.e. the person who makes the LPA) has lost mental capacity. An LPA dealing with personal welfare can only be used once the Donor has lost mental capacity.


A gift made to a beneficiary in a Will. This can include money, an object or a property.


Another word for beneficiary.

Letters of Administration

Authority given by the Probate Registry to deal with the affairs of a deceased person who has not made a Will or died without a valid Will i.e. the same as a Grant of Probate

Pecuniary Legacy

Fixed sum of money left to someone in a Will

Personal Property

Anything owned by the deceased apart from land and buildings which are known as real property.

Powers of Attorney

Legal document allowing one person to act as the agent of another person. See Enduring Power of Attorney and Lasting Power of Attorney.

Professional Negligence

Area of law covering claims against any professional whose work has not met the standard that can be reasonably expected and which can lead to a claim for compensation.

Residuary Estate

Balance of someone's Estate left after payment of all debts, funeral expenses, pecuniary legacies, specific legacies and all other expenses incurred in administering the Estate. This is often the largest part of an Estate.

Specific Legacy

Gift of a specific object to someone in a Will


Anything to do with a Will


Person who made the Will


A Trustee holds property on behalf of a beneficiary (e.g. a child) until such time as the beneficiary is in a position to receive the property. A Trustee must always act in the interest of the people he is holding the assets for.


Legal document expressing someone's wishes about what should happen to their assets when they die

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