Inheritance and Will Disputes Glossary

Legal words can often be confusing and difficult to understand.

We have collected the main ones you are likely to come across and will try to simplify the meanings as much we can.

Glossary

Beneficiaries

Those persons named in the will of the deceased or those entitled on Intestacy entitled to benefit from the deceased’s estate.

Contentious Probate

A dispute relating to the deceased’s estate, including claims to remove Executor, contesting a will or claims for reasonable financial provision under the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975. 

Estate

After a person has died, the deceased’s assets including their money, property and possessions less all liabilities at that time form the deceased’s ‘Estate’.

Executor

An Executor is a person or persons appointed by the deceased in their Will to administer their Estate.

Grant of Probate / Grant of Letters of Administration

If the deceased has a will, the executor will apply for a Grant of Probate. If the deceased did not have a will, the Administrator will apply for a Grant of Letters of Administration. The Grant is a legal document which confirms that the executor / administrator has the authority to deal with and gather in the deceased person's assets (property, money and belongings) and to then distribute the estate to the beneficiaries

Inheritance

The practices of passing on property, titles, debts, rights, and obligations upon the death of an individual. The rules of inheritance differ between societies and have changed over time.

Inheritance Act

Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975 is a statute under English and Welsh jurisdiction which allows the Court to make financial provision for certain individuals from the deceased’s estate when provision is not provided either under the Will or Intestacy rules.

Intestacy

The condition of the estate of a person who dies without having made a valid will. Alternatively, this may also apply where a will has been made, but only applies to part of the estate; the remaining estate forms the "intestate estate".

Intestacy Rules

The Rules that set out how a deceased's estate is to be administered in the absence of a Will. Whilst Intestacy Rules can be difficult to understand, we have provided an Intestacy Rule Flowchart here.

Last Will and Testament (often shortened to Will)

The legal Document that conveys the wishes of the deceased in respect to their possessions and assets.

Probate Search

A search for Grant of Probate with the Probate Registry.

Promissory Estoppel

A legal principle that a promise is enforceable in law when a  promise has been made which is relied upon to a person's detriment.