Glossary of Terms

The legal language associated with Wills can sometimes feel confusing. These are the most common terms you may encounter when arranging your Will.


The person appointed by the court to administer your affairs if you do not leave a valid Will in place.


All of your money, goods and possessions that make up your Estate.


Any person or organisation named in your Will who will receive a legacy or bequest (gift).


To leave something in your Will.


An additional legal document to supplement your existing Will, making a simple change. It could, for example, add or remove a pecuniary beneficiary. It must be drawn up legally, signed and witnessed.

Conditional Legacy

A gift that would only take effect if certain events occurs.


The official term for where your money goes if you die without leaving a valid Will in place and without any Next of Kin. In practice, this means HMRC.


The total sum of your possessions, property and money (minus any debts), left after your death.

Executor (male) or Executrix (female)

The person you appoint to carry out the instructions in your Will. Executors are usually family, friends or professional advisors (such as a solicitor or bank).


Dying without having made a Will.

Inheritance Tax

A tax charged if the value of your Estate is above a certain limit.


A bequest or gift left in your Will. It can take the form of money, property, possessions or stocks and shares.

Pecuniary bequest

A gift of a fixed sum of money in your Will (it can also be linked to the Retail Price Index so its value is maintained over time).


To promise a gift (not legally binding unless it is in your Will).


The legal process after death, which confirms that your Will is valid and confirms the Executors' authority to carry out your wishes.


The remainder of your Estate after all the debts have been paid and all of your pecuniary and specific bequests have been made.

Residuary Bequest

A gift of the remainder of your Estate after all other bequests and debts have been paid.

Restricted Fund

Monies or property required to be held for a specific project or cause, rather than for the general funds of a charity.