You may have been confused as to what a legal word or phrase means when reading or hearing about Lasting Powers of Attorney and/or Wills, be it while watching your favorite legal TV shows, hearing about legal entanglements on the news or when you have heard friends discussing their Wills or other documents. If you were too shy to ask, then this list should help you understand simple and widely used legal terms. This list was created to acquaint you with various legal terms and will help you understand what those words or phrases mean. So here it is,


Each time you see a word or phrase types in italics on this page, you will be able to find an explanation for the word or phrase in this list.

Inheritance Tax:

We have a page that is entirely dedicated to this subject.

Tenants in Common:

If you and at least one other person owns a property together, you are considered Tenants in Common or Joint Tenants.

Reading of the Will

Please note that this usually only happens on TV and in films. This is not a necessary process. Please see Obtaining Probate above.

Parental Responsibility:

Unless it has been removed by a court, the mother has parental responsibility. The father does as well, if he was married to her or if he successfully applies for it. A Will allows you to name Guardians who will automatically be legally responsible for the child or children if you die and no one else with parental responsibility remains alive.


The organization or person that you leave a legacy, be it all or part of your Residuary Estate in your Will is called a beneficiary.


In order for a person to change an existing will, he or she must write a document called a codicil. This describes the necessary changes one would like to add to the existing Will. The original document plus the codicil is technically the new Will.

A person can write as many codicils as he or she wants. However, this will make it look cluttered and messy. Since our Will re-writes on our website are free, it would make more sense if you amended your Will online and generate the revised form. You will need witnesses to watch you sign it, and this process revokes your previous Will. This is one of the best benefits of using our service.

Funeral arrangements:

You may choose to give directions in your Will regarding your funeral. Thus, you can state if you prefer burial or cremation. These are not legally binding unless you forbid cremation. Our Wills authorize your Executors to use your estate funds to pay for the funeral.

Testator (Male) or Testatrix (Female):

This is the legally appropriate term for the individual who made the Will. In this case, it refers to you.

Discretionary Trust

This falls into an entirely different subject, and we would advise you to read our Discretionary Trust Wills page

Civil Partners:

Two people who have the same gender and have undergone a "same-sex or gay" marriage since the Civil Partnership act was passed, which was in 2004.

In Trust:

In a Will made using this site, if one was to leave a part of their estate or legacy to a person under 18 years of age (or any age of their choice when they feel that the beneficiary is ready to receive the said gift), this item is automatically held in Trust by the Executors of your Will until the beneficiary is old enough to inherit it. The Executors are given the power to allow them to apply all or a portion of the inheritance towards Maintenance, Education or Benefit of the child.


A Will cannot be considered legal until it is signed in the presence of two witnesses. They must see you sign it and be able to testify, if required by law, that you understood its contents and were sound of mind at that time.

Please keep in mind that a witness is not allowed to be a beneficiary of the said Will. Should this rule be broken, the Will still remains valid. However, the beneficiary who is a witness will lose his or her intended share.


This is a gift in a Will. In the case of a specific item, it is termed a "Specific Legacy". A gift of money is called a "Pecuniary Legacy".


A person who dies without making his or her Will is someone who has dies "intestate".


The people who you chose to make a Will happen. The job of the executor is to pay any debts, obtain probate, distribute your legacies or gifts to the beneficiaries and present your Residuary Estate to the beneficiaries.


This is the term for a person who has legal control or responsibility for a minor under 18 years of age if he or she has no parents responsible, in the case when they are unwilling to act or dead. Your will lets you legally appoint the Guardians. You just have to name them on the online form and we generate all the legal wording.

Obtaining probate:

After the person who has written the Will has dies, the Executors must take their Will to the closest Probate Office to apply for Probate. Once this process i concluded, the Executors are presented with an official document which is called the 'Grant of Representation'. This makes them legal owners of the Estate and allows them to distribute it to the beneficiaries.

ALL Will packages that are purchased from tenminutewill.co.uk includes a comprehensive document that you can give to the Executors. it is free of charge and explains how they can obtain the probate.

If you decide to sign up for our Document Storage Service, your Executors and yourself are given access to the FREE Probate Helpline as soon as you make your Will.


The person you appointed in a Lasting Power of Attorney. He or she will look after your Personal Welfare and/or Affairs in the event that you are unable to do so yourself.

People who do not have a Lasting Power of Attorney need not worry, as their relatives can apply to the Court of Protection to have one appointed. This is usually someone you do not know and he or she may charge for his or her services. this process may take a year to process and it may cost roughly 1,000.

This is why people who make a Will on our site are asked if they want to make a Lasting Power of Attorney as well.

Lasting Power of Attorney:

There are TWO types of LPA (Lasting Power of Attorney)

The first one is where you appoint an attorney or two to oversee Property & Financial Affairs , in case you are unable to do so yourself. The second LPA is when you appoint one or more attorneys to oversee your Personal Welfare. They will help make decisions about where you live, your medication or therapy and even where you reside when you are not in the state of mind to do so yourself.

Returning Customers:

While this is not a legal term, it explains the facility that is found on the right-hand side of the Home Page.

When you have drafted and paid for your Lasting Power of Attorney and/or Will at this website, you become a Member of our service and you are allowed to check, amend and download any of your documents by clicking on this area. You must enter your email address and password to access it. In the case when you have lost your password or never received it, as soon as you click on Returning Customers, you will see an area that allows you to get your password emailed to you.

Residuary Estate

This is what remains of your Estate once the the expenses of administration , deduction of inheritance tax and debts, the cost of the funeral, and the distribution of gifts or legacies you have specified in your Will is done.