Legal language and terminology is not always obvious in its meaning. Modern legal professionals will try to use the most straightforward and understandable terms that they can, but there are still some words which it is necessary or helpful to use in everyday practice. Latin is avoided at all costs!
With this in mind, we thought it would be helpful to prepare a mini jargon-buster of terms that are often used in our work with individuals and families.
Testator – The person who has made a Will.
Executor – Person(s) appointed by a Will or appointed by the Sheriff Court, if there is no Will, to administer a deceased person's estate.
Testate – When a person dies and has made a Will.
Intestate – When a person dies without having made a Will.
Legacy – A gift (financial or specific item) to a person or an organisation in a Will.
Life interest – Granting a right often under a Trust or Will to someone which lasts only for the lifetime of the beneficiary. This is sometimes referred to as a liferent.
Residue – The remaining assets of a deceased person's estate after all debts, tax and legacies are paid.
Issue – The children of a deceased person (by bloodline – includes adopted children), grandchildren, great-grandchildren and so on.
Guardian – Person responsible for a deceased person's children until they turn age 16.
Trust – When an appointed Trustee(s) holds and manages money and/or assets for the benefit of individuals and/or organisations set out as beneficiaries of the Trust in the Deed of Trust. This can be created in a Will or set up during a person's lifetime.
Settlor – A person who creates a Trust.
Trustee – An individual or an organisation named in the Deed of Trust to take responsibility for and manage the Trust's assets.
Deed of Trust – A written document constituting the Trust which sets out the who is/are the Settlor, Trustees, beneficiaries and the purposes of the Trust.
Attorney – Person(s) appointed by someone to act as either or both their financial and welfare attorney.
Confirmation – A document granted by the Sheriff Court confirming the validity of a Will and the right of the Executors to administer the deceased person's estate eg sell property, close bank accounts, transfer assets to beneficiaries.
Get in touch - we're here to help
Should you wish to discuss any of the things mentioned in this blog, please do not hesitate to contact the Private Client team at Harper Macleod using the form below or call one of our offices on:
Elgin: 01343 542623
We have solicitors working from home across the country, ready to help in person or over the phone or on a zoom call.
We can provide the assistance you need to protect your assets and your loved ones. This will allow you to put your mind at ease, knowing everything is in hand.