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Glossary of Terms

Inheritance tax

  • Tax payable on the transfer of assets either during an individual's lifetime (within the last 7 years) or following their death.


  • A person who dies without making a valid Will.


  • A gift of a specific item or cash sum left in a Will, apart from land.

Life interest

  • The right to enjoy for life (or until a specified time period has elapsed or an event has occurred), either money or property which will eventually revert to the original estate in some way on death - instructions are included in the original deceased's Will as to what should happen to the gift when the life interest ends.

Moveable property

  • Anything other than buildings or land.

Pecuniary legacy

  • A gift of money under a Will.

Potentially exempt transfer (PET)

  • A gift made during ones lifetime that is exempt from Inheritance Tax if the donor lives for seven years after making the gift.


  • Someone who dies before the person who has made the Will.

Grant of Probate (England, Wales and Northern Ireland)

  • The document that confirms to executors that they have authority to act, and which validates the Will.


  • What is left of the estate after the payment of all debts, taxes, administration expenses, legacies and bequests under the Will.

Reversionary interest

  • Benefit from a trust property.

Specific legacy

  • A gift of a specific object under a Will.


  • The person (male/female) who makes the Will.


  • An arrangement by which property is handed over to trustees to be applied for the benefit of other people known as beneficiaries.


  • The person who holds property on behalf of another person and is responsible for administering the trust assets.

Variation, deed of

  • An arrangement whereby certain provisions under a Will may be varied by consent of the beneficiaries.


  • A form of instructions as to how someone wishes to dispose of their assets on death.

⇦ Wills in Scotland Organ donation ⇨

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