Probate Glossary

Below is a list of probate terms together with an explanation as to what they mean.

Our firm’s reference number with the ICAEW is C005341462.


An account prepared by the executor or administrator of an estate.


The person responsible for looking after the affairs of someone who has died without having made a Will.


If a person died intestate, someone could apply for a grant of administration allowing them to deal with the estate.

Administration (with will annexed)

If there is a will but the named executors have died or refused to act, or none were named, then letters of administration are granted but with the will annexed.


A document which is sworn to be true.


Belongings of value including property and land, investments, vehicles and money.


A person who benefits on the death of another either under the Will or on Intestacy.


A document lodged at the Probate Registry to prevent a Grant being issued.


Personal belongings for example furniture and jewellery.


A legal document drawn up to make minor changes to a Will.

Deed of Variation

A legal document drawn up to alter or amend a Will after death.

Demonstrative Gift

A general legacy from a specific source of funds.

Discretionary Trust

A Trust in which money or property is held on behalf of one or more of those beneficiaries to be paid out to them at the discretion of the Trustees.


A term to describe an individual’s entire assets and property.


A person named in a Will to administer the estate.

Grant of Letters of Administration

The document issued to a deceased’s administrator to authorise the administrator to deal with the estate.

Grant of Probate

The document issued to the executors of a Will, which allows them to administer the estate.


Those appointed by the deceased to make decisions about their children.

Inheritance Tax (or IHT)

A tax on the value of a deceased’s estate.


Where an executor takes steps to administer an estate prior to renouncing their right to do so.


Describes someone who has died without a valid Will and the subsequent administration of that estate.


A gift given by someone after death through a Will.

Life Interest

A gift of property or interest in an asset for a person’s lifetime.


The amount of money or value of an estate before inheritance tax becomes payable.

Pecuniary Gift

A gift of money in a will.

Personal Representative

A deceased’s Executor(s) or Administrator(s).

Probate Registry

A division of the High Court responsible for issuing Grants of Probate and Grants of Letters of Administration and settling disputes relating to estates.


Where the named executor renounces their right to administer the estate.

Residential Nil-Rate Band

An allowance available when the residence is bequeathed on death to direct descendants.

Residuary Gft

The gift of the deceased’s residue estate.


What is left of an estate after specific gifts, legacies and debts have all been paid.

Specific Gift

The gift of a particular item, sum of money or other asset to a beneficiary.


A phrase used to describe someone who has died having made a valid Will.


A person who has made a Will.


Where assets are looked after by Trustees for the benefit of one or more persons.


A person or persons who look after and manage the Trust and the Trust assets until such time as the Trust is brought to an end


A written document outlining a person’s wishes to include the appointment of Executors, Guardians and the gift of money or assets to one or more beneficiaries.


One of two persons who together watch the Testator sign his or her Will and then sign it in his or her presence to validate the Will.

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