A Glossary of Terms
The brief list below may help you make sense of what is in reality a very simple process.
Beneficiary – the person or charity who benefits from a gift in your will.
Bequest – a gift in your will.
Codicil – a supplemental paragraph making a change or addition to your will.
Estate – the total amount of your capital and possessions.
Executor – the person with legal responsibility and authority to ensure that your wishes are followed in the execution of your will. This person can also be a beneficiary.
Inheritance Tax – the tax levied on your estate if its value is over a certain limit.
Intestacy – dying without having made a will.
Legacy – any gift you choose to make to a beneficiary as part of your will.
Legator – the person who leaves the legacy in their will.
Pecuniary Legacy – a gift of a specified sum of money or capital.
Residuary Legacy – a gift of all or part of your estate after the settlement of all debts, taxes, and other liabilities.
Reversionary Legacy – a gift which reverts to a second beneficiary after the specified first beneficiary dies.
Specific Legacy – a gift of a particular possession (ie., house, painting, jewellery, etc.).
Witness – anyone who witnesses the Legator’s signature on their will. This person cannot also be a beneficiary.