Will writing – jargon busters

At Keebles we know that when you are making a Will, you will come across a number of legal terms which you may not understand the meaning of.

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Will writing – jargon busters

That’s why we’ve made this guide which explains the jargon in simple terms, making your Will writing easier. Here are some common terms you will encounter:

Property owned by the person who has made the Will. This will commonly include their house, any vehicles and/or pets.

A person that benefits from the Will.

A document/letter that amends, rather than replaces, a Will. A codicil must be signed and witnessed in the same way as a Will. To avoid disputes, it’s more common to simply rewrite the Will.

Deed of Variation
A legal document that allows beneficiaries to change the terms of a Will after a death. For example, it can allow a beneficiary to reduce their share in order to give it to someone who did not inherit.

The finances, property and personal possessions of an individual.

A person or persons appointed in the Will to administer the estate. This will normally be the deceased’s next of kin or close family member.

Gift over clause
If your beneficiary is unable or unwilling to accept their gift you can nominate a secondary recipient who will inherit it in their place.

Someone appointed to look after any children of the testator in the event of their death.


When a person dies without a Will. This situation should be avoided at all costs as it causes complications which could mean your Estate does not go to who you might expect it to.

A gift of a specific item or cash sum left in a Will, excluding property. Some people like to leave legacies to a charity which is close to their heart, for example.

Per Stirpes
A method of distributing your estate equally to family members. This is often used for grandchildren, including any that may be born after your Will has been made. Also if your beneficiary dies before you, this method allows you to distribute their share equally between their children.

A beneficiary who dies before the person who has made the Will.

What’s left in the estate once everything has been accounted for such as the deceased’s funeral, debts, Inheritance Tax and legacies. A person entitled to the residue is known as the residuary beneficiary.

The person who has made the Will.

An arrangement you can make to administer part of your assets after your death.

The people that you appoint to manage the trust. This will typically be a close family member.

If you would like to make an appointment to speak to our team about your Will, please contact Keebles Partner Michele Wightman at michele.wightman@keebles.com or call 0114 290 6207.

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