Wills & Estate Glossary

Wills & Estate Glossary

Interim order – an order made by a court until another order or a final order is made

Administrator – means a person or corporation appointed to administer the estate of a deceased person who dies either without a will or with a will but without an executor or the executor dies or is unable or unwilling to act as executor

Appointor – the person who can appoint and remove the trustee of a trust and therefore is the person who controls the trust

Attorney – the person who receives the power to act on behalf of another. The terms grantee or donee may also be used

Beneficiary – someone who receives a benefit under a will or trust

Codicil – a document executed as a will but which amends an existing will

Donee – see Attorney

Donor – see Principal

Enduring Guardianship – the appointment of an enduring guardian pursuant to the provisions of the Guardianship Act 1987 (NSW)

Enduring Power of Attorney – a type of power of attorney that continues to operate after the principal loses mental capacity

Estate – all the assets of the deceased person wherever located

Estate assets – those assets which form part of your estate

Estate plan – a way of ensuring that your estate assets are passed onto your beneficiaries in the most financially efficient and tax effective way possible

Executor – the person nominated in a person’s will who administers the terms of the wills

Guardian – one who is legally responsible for the care and management of the person or property of an incompetent or a minor

Informal Will – a document executed by a person with the intention that it represent their testamentary intentions even though the document is not executed in strict conformity with the requirements of the legislation

Inheritance – a benefit received via a will on the death of a person

Inter vivos – means during the lifetime of a person

Intestacy/Intestate – is where a person dies without a will or the will is invalid. It can also extend to situations where the will has been invalidly executed

Joint Tenants – One form of joint ownership of property. If you are purchasing property with another as joint tenants you both will own the whole of the property rather than any identified share of the property and should one of you die then your share of the property will pass automatically into the survivor’s name. See also Tenants in Common

Legacy – a cash gift in a will

Legal Personal Representative – the executor or administrator of the estate of a deceased person

Letters of Administration – an official document granted by the court to allow an estate to be administered where either the person has died intestate, the will is invalid, there is no executor or there are proceeds remaining in the estate which are not detailed in the will

Minor – a person under the age of eighteen (18) years of age

Non estate assets – assets which pass directly and automatically to another on your death without passing through your estate

Power of Attorney – an official document which allows one person to act on behalf of another

Principal – the person who grants a power of attorney. This person may also be referred to as the grantor or donor

Probate – an official document which states the will of a deceased person is their last will and testament. It allows the administration of the estate by the executor to proceed

Protected asset – those assets owned by a deceased which are not available to creditors for payment of debts unless they are specifically charged by deed or in the deceased’s will. Those assets are however available to pay funeral and testamentary expenses

Remainderman – a person who shares in estate assets after the individual with a life interest has died

Residuary estate – those assets of a deceased person which remain after the payment of all debts, funeral and testamentary expenses and any specific gifts or legacies

Tenants in common – One form of joint ownership of property. If you are purchasing property with another as tenants in common each of you will own a specified share in the property, for example, one half each, or two thirds owned by one party and the remaining third owned by the other party. When you own property as tenants in common and one party dies then that person’s share in the property will be transferred to the person specified in the deceased’s will as the new owner of that share of the property. See also joint tenants

Testamentary trust – a fixed or non-fixed that is established by will and is funded by the assets of the deceased estate or by payments to the estate in consequence of death e.g. superannuation death benefits or insurance proceeds paid to the estate rather than directly to dependants or nominated beneficiaries

Testator/Testatrix Trust – the person who has made the will; an arrangement where assets are held on behalf of another. Trust arrangements may be formal or informal. There are different types of trust

Trustee – a person who holds assets on behalf of another

Trustee powers – those powers given to a trustee to administer a trust fund both by statute and the terms of the trust instrument

Will – a document which outlines how a person wishes the assets of their estate to be distributed among beneficiaries. There are certain requirements to ensure the will is valid

See our Will Dispute Lawyer & Contesting Wills page for more information on the Wills & Estates services we provide or contact us for advice specific to your situation.