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Glossary of Terms


The administrator is the person who is appointed to sort out the estate of a person who died without leaving a will.


Administration is the act of exercising a person's powers as an administrator. Administration involves collecting and protecting the deceased's property, paying debts and distributing the property to beneficiaries.


An affidavit is a written summary of things that you saw, heard or otherwise know. An affidavit is your evidence in written form.


An annuity is a fixed sum of money paid to someone every year. Annuities are normally paid every year for the rest of the person's life.


A beneficiary is a person who receives cash, goods or any other type of property from a deceased's estate.


A bequest is a gift of personal property which is given in a will.


To bequeath personal property means that you leave the property in a will.


Chattels are items of property other than land. Chattels include leases and personal property (such as furniture, clothes and jewellery).


A codicil is a supplement to a will. A codicil usually adds to or makes small changes to a will.


A deed is a document containing the terms of a contract. The deed is formally executed.


To devise is the act of leaving real estate in a will.

Eligible person

Eligible persons are those people who have standing to make a claim of the deceased's estate.


The deceased's estate comprises of all of the property which the deceased person owned at the time that the executor received a grant of probate. It is the deceased person's assets and liabilities taken collectively.


Execution is the act of performing the necessary requirements to create a legal instrument or discharge a legal duty.


The executor is the person appointed by the testator to carry out the instructions in the will. The executor collects and takes title to the testator's property. The executor also protects assets, pays bills and distributes property to the beneficiaries.
An executor is male, an executrix is female.

Family provision

Family provision is a type of claim whereby you "contest" the will. The basis of claiming family provision is that you are an eligible person who can demonstrate some sort of need.

Formal Requirements

In order to be valid a will must adhere to formalities required by legislation.


A person's inheritance is the cash, goods and other property a person is entitled to after the deceased person has died.


If a person dies without leaving a valid will, they die "intestate". The rules of intestacy determine how the deceased person's estate is to be distributed if there is no will.


A legacy is a gift made under a will.

Letters of Administration

A grant of letters of administration is an order made by the Court. This type of order is sought if the deceased person died without leaving a will, if the will does not appoint an executor or if the appointment of the executor failed. A grant of letters of administration allows the court to appoint a formal representative (the "administrator") to administer the deceased's estate. Letters of administration gives the administrator powers similar to that of an executor.

Life interest/tenancy/estate

A life interest (aka life tenancy or life estate) is an interest which only lasts until death. If you are given a life interest you are allowed to use and occupy property and treat it as your own, but you cannot pass this property on when you die.

Limitation period

The limitation period is the time that you have to commence your claim. If you wait until after the time limit has expired you can be prevented from bringing your claim.


Litigation involves the process of bringing and arguing your claim in court.


Mediation is a method of alternative dispute resolution. It is not a court hearing. At a mediation a neutral person (the mediator) works with both parties to help them reach a solution.


If a person has died leaving a will a grant of probate gives the executor their powers. Probate is also proof of the validity of the will.

Public Trustee

The Public Trustee is a government body which makes wills and is willing to act as a person's executor in return for payment.


The law of Succession is the law relating to wills.

Testamentary Capacity

A testator has testamentary capacity if they are at least 18 years of age, possessed mental capacity and they approved and appreciated the content of their will.


The testator is a man who makes a will.


The testator is a woman who makes a will.


A will is valid if the formal requirements for making a will are met and the testator had both testamentary capacity and the intention to create a will.


A will is a document which states the intention of a testator in regard to matters such as how their property is to be distributed after their death. A will only takes effect after the testator has died.

Adrian Corbould

Adrian Corbould is a Law Society Accredited Specialist in Wills & Estates Law. For more than 15 years he has helped hundreds of clients in contested estate matters. His tenacity and experience make him one of the most sought after Will Contest Lawyers in New South Wales (NSW).

Adrian is an Accredited Specialist within the Contested Wills & Estates Team. In certain circumstances, the team operates on a 'No Win, No Fee' basis. If you'd like to discuss your circumstances with a member of the team, call us and ask for a Free Appraisal.


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