Wills and Estates a glossary of terms within Scotland

Let us Help You Understand Wills and Estates in Scotland with our Legal Terminology and glossary of terms.


This is a person appointed when either no Will can be found or there is no executor to carry out the intentions of the Will.


Generally, this is referring to the property 9in general terms) owned by the person who died. For example, a house, household goods, savings, investments, a car, etc would all come under a property.


This refers to Someone who is entitled to receive a specific gift, sum of money or share of the estate.


A gift left in a Will.

Chargeable gift

A gift on which Inheritance Tax may be payable to the state.


A document that does not replace a Will but rather amends a Will. Codicils can adversely affect a will, altering, cancelling or adding provisions to what is contained within it. Therefore it is more common to re-write the Will itself. It conforms to the same legal requirements as the original Will and has two witnesses who do not benefit from the Will in any way. (such as the signature of the testator)

Confirmation of the Estate (Scotland)

A grant of Confirmation in Scotland (similar to Probate in England) is a legal document issued by sheriff courts in favour of executors. This enables the executors of an estate to deal with the deceased’s assets, for example, to release funds held in bank accounts or sell the deceased’s house


A gift of real property made in a will. See also Bequest. Dower – A wife’s interest in her husband’s property, inheritable at his death. … This further guaranteed that the property was clear of all obligations.


This is money that your solicitor has to pay to third parties to help prepare your case. For example, court fees, fees for medical or other expert reports.


Executor – individual (or individuals/organisation) appointed in a will to ensure the testator’s wishes are followed after death. Executors have a legal responsibility to carry out the wishes in the will and to collect the assets and administer the estate in accordance with the law

Grant of probate (England, Wales and Northern Ireland)

A document issued by the Court that confirms to executors that they have authority to act, and which validates the Will. Grant of Probate often refers to the greater legal process of administering the estate of a deceased person by resolving all claims and distributing the deceased person’s property under the valid Will. This not relevant to Scots law or Scotland.


Someone appointed to look after the interests of a child under the age of 18 in England, Wales and Northern Ireland or under 16 in Scotland.

Inheritance Tax

Tax payable when the estate is over the current inheritance threshold (currently £325,000) as of 2021.


When a person dies without leaving a valid will, their property (the estate) must be shared out according to certain rules. … A person who dies without leaving a will is called an intestate person.


A gift of a specific item or cash sum left in a Will (except property).

Letters of administration

A document given by the Registrar to appoint people to handle a person’s estate, where there is no Will, no executors appointed in the Will, no executors still living, or no executors willing to carry out executor’s duties.

Life interest

In English law, life interests, whether in realty or personalty, can exist only behind trusts.

Moveable property

Movable items of personal property – jewellery, art, clothes… A document/letter that amends (rather than replaces) a Will. It excludes property. A codicil must be signed and witnessed in the same way as a Wil

Pecuniary legacy

A gift of money under a Will.

Personal representative

A personal representative is an executor or administrator managing the deceased’s estate

Potentially exempt transfer (PET)

A gift made during one’s 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.


The balance of the estate after payment of funeral expenses, debts, legacies and all taxes. For example, what is left of the estate after the payment of all debts, taxes, administration expenses, legacies and bequests under the Will is considered ‘residue’.

Residuary beneficiary

A person entitled to the residue.

Reversionary interest

Benefit from a trust property.

Section 27

Section 27 of the Trustee Act 1925, which refers to the placing of notices in The Gazette

Section 28

Section 28 of the Trustee Act (Northern Ireland) 1958, which refers to the placing of notices in The Gazette

Specific legacy

A gift of a specific object under a Will.


The person  who makes the Will.


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


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

Variation, deed of

A legal document that allows the beneficiaries to change the terms of a Will, even after the person’s death.


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

If you require any help with your will in Scotland, Lanarkshire or surrounding areas then please call us on 01698 747171 or email us at our Bellshill office [email protected] and we will be happy to help.

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