What some of the important words in your Will mean.

What is 'probate'?

Probate is the process of proving who is legally entitled to deal with the estate of someone who’s died. Commonly, it also describes the process of dealing with a deceased assets and affairs. Probate and Administration Technically probate only covers the situation where the deceased has a will which appoints executors. Where there is no will, or where there is a will but no effective appointment of executors, the process is called administration. Administrators are appointed by the court. Exec

What is a 'trustee'?

A trustee is a person who has legal responsibility for assets on behalf of somebody else, called the beneficiary. Trusts have all sorts of uses. They can be complicated they don’t have to be. In fact even the most simple of wills might require someone to take legal responsibility for assets on behalf of someone else. A good example of this is where a will leaves something to a child under 18 In that case a trust is needed to hold the assets for them until they reach 18 (or older if that’s what

What is an 'executor'?

One of the most important tasks involved in writing your will is to appoint executors. These are the people who will manage and distribute your estate after you’ve died, using the instructions you make in your will.What does an executor do? Typical responsibilities can include: * Collecting and listing all of the assets in the estate – bank accounts, property, possessions etc. * Valuing the estate. * Applying for a grant of probate. * Making sure all debts, bills, taxes (including inheri

What is a 'guardian'?

If you have children under the age of 18 you will probably want to nominate a guardian for them in case you and the child’s other parent were to die. You can only appoint a guardian for your children if you have parental responsibility for them. You can read more about who has parental responsibility and what will happen if there is no will in our ‘What happens to your children if you die without a will’ article. A guardian’s role and responsibilities The role of a guardian is essentially mu

What is meant by my 'estate'?

In basic terms your estate is everything you own, less anything you owe. So that’s your property, money, investments, vehicles and possessions, less your debts for example: money owed on loans, mortgages or to the tax man. Most of the things you own can be dealt with in your will, the main exceptions are: * Money held in joint accounts – which will automatically go to the other account holder. * Property which is owned on a joint tenant basis – where your share of the property will go