Glossary Of Terms


The closely related members of the deceased’s family such as spouse/civil partner, their children and their parents.


A document obtained from the Registrar of Births and Deaths stating the name, date of birth and address of the deceased person, the place and date of death, their occupation, cause of death, name and address of the informant and the name of the doctor certifying the death.


The person registering the death. If the person died in a house or hospital, the death can be registered by a relative, someone present at the death, an occupant of the house an official from the hospital or the person making the arrangements with the funeral directors. Deaths that occurred anywhere else can be registered by a relative, someone present at the death, the person who found the body, the person in charge of the body or the person making the arrangements with the funeral directors.


A legal document drawn up by the deceased during their lifetime which appoints the executors and states what they want to happen to their estate on their death


The net value of the assets of the deceased person at the date of their death less their liabilities


The person or persons named in the will who are responsible for carrying out the wishes of the deceased person as set out in their will.


A person who inherits all, or part, of the estate of a deceased person.


A legal term for giving someone the right to manage the estate of a deceased person.


A legal document which is provided by the Probate Registry which confirms that the will is a valid document and states who the personal representatives are. The grant of probate is used by the personal representatives to produce to institutions to gain access to the funds and other assets of the deceased to enable them to collect in the estate and distribute it according to terms of the will.


The person who has legal responsibility for dealing with the estate.


The position when the deceased person has not made a will during their lifetime. The person who has died is known as “intestate” under such circumstances.


An official document obtained from the Probate Registry by a close relative when someone has died without making a will. The grant of letters of administration appoints the administrators of the estate who have the power to deal with the deceased person’s estate.


The person appointed by the Probate Registry to deal with the affairs of a person who has died without making a will.


A legal instrument which changes the will of a deceased person after their death. This is often done for Inheritance Tax planning or to protect the assets against future care home costs. A deed of variation must be made within two years of the date of death of the deceased and must have the agreement of all of the original beneficiaries and the executors.