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Latest News

Residence Nil Rate Band (RNRB).

A new tax-free allowance was announced in the Summer Budget 2015 (the Residence Nil Rate Band) that will take effect on or after 6th April 2017.  Downsizing provisions have yet to be finalised.

There are a lot of myths and misconceptions surrounding this new allowance - please call or view our website pages (not yet updated) for further information - including:

  • everyone has a new allowance of £1M;
  • everyone can pass their home free of tax to their children

You may not get the full allowance (or double the allowance) if:

  1. your estate exceeds £2M
  2. you rent property
  3. you don't leave your property (or proceeds of sale) to the right qualifying people and in the right manner
  4. you are unmarried


Busting the Jargon in Will-Writing and Estate Planning

A handy guide to what they all mean

There are many words used in will writing and estate planning that don't crop up in everyday language. Here is a handy guide to what they all mean:


ASSENT The legal term for when a property is transferred by executors to a beneficiary/trustee.
ASSETS  Items in your estate that have value such as properties, accounts and investments
ATTESTATION The signing and witnessing of a Will.
ATTORNEY A person appointed via a Lasting/Enduring Power of Attorney to manage the finances of a person who is unable to manage them for themselves.
BENEFICIARY The person or charity or organisation who receives an inheritance from a Will or an interest in trust funds.
BEQUEST A gift left in a Will, usually money or a personal possession, but not land or property.
CHATTELS Your personal effects. This is defined by law and generally speaking means cars, clothing, jewellery, etc. It does not include (amongst other things) houses, land, bank accounts and business assets.
CODICIL An update to an existing Will.
DEPENDENTS Anybody who is dependent on you for care or financial support, e.g. spouse, children, elderly or sick relatives
DOMICILE A person’s domicile is typically their country of birth but may be determined on their death by a number of factors. This may impact on any inheritance tax paid on your estate
EPA Or Enduring Power of Attorney. A legal document that allows you to appoint someone who looks after your affairs if you’re not able to. Superseded by the Lasting Power of Attorney.
ESTATE Everything you own in your name including property, car, personal effects, cash and investments
EXECUTOR The person (male) appointed in the Will to administer the estate and make sure the provisions of the Will are carried out.
GRANT OF PROBATE This confirms that an Executor has the power to administer the estate.
GUARDIAN A person who is legally responsible for caring for a child under the age of 18 (16 in Scotland).
INHERITANCE TAX Tax your estate may need to pay before distribution to your beneficiaries
INTESTATE A term are used to describe when a person dies without leaving a Will. The person is said to be intestate and the situation is intestacy.
ISSUE This means children, including illegitimate and adopted children but not step-children (unless legally adopted), grandchildren, great grandchildren, etc.
JOINT TENANTS A way of holding property with one or more other person so that it passes automatically between them. It cannot be gifted via the deceased’s Will.
LEGACY Another name for a gift in a Will, either a bequest or a devise.
LEGATEE Someone who receives a legacy.
LIVING WILL Also known as Advance Decision or Advance Directive. A document that allows you to indicate your wish to refuse all or some forms of medical treatment if you lose mental capacity in the future.
LPA Or Lasting Power of Attorney. A legal document that allows you to appoint someone who looks after your affairs if you’re not able to
NIL RATE BAND The amount of your estate that is taxed at 0% for Inheritance Tax
PECUNIARY BEQUEST A fixed sum of money given in a Will.
PER STIRPES Literally this means ‘by branch’. The legacy passes down one branch of the family tree. For example, if a child of the person who made the Will dies, his/her children take their parents’ share rather than it being shared among all surviving grandchildren.
PROBATE This proves the Will is valid and gives the Executor authority to administer the Estate.
RESIDUARY ESTATE This is what’s left after all specific and pecuniary gifts have been given and all debts and taxes have been paid. A Will contains a clause setting out who receives the residue and this is called a residuary legacy.
TENANTS IN COMMON A way of holding property with one or more other person that allows you to gift your share in your Will
TESTATOR The person (male) who makes the Will.
TESTATRIX The female form of Testator.
TRUST A legal structure for passing control of one or more of your assets to be managed by people you trust for your beneficiaries. A trust can be set up in your lifetime or via your Will.
TRUST SETTLOR Someone who settles assets into the trust
TRUSTEE  Somebody who manages the trust fund
VESTED INTEREST When a person meets all the conditions of a gift and is absolutely entitled to it, they attain a vested interest.
WARDS OF COURT Children who are orphaned and have no appointed guardians are made “wards of court” which means the court decides what will happen to them
WITNESS The two people who sign the Will to confirm that the person making it has signed it. Legally they must be sighted, of sound mind, they must witness the signature together and generally mustn’t be beneficiaries or married to a beneficiary or blood relatives of the Testator.