1.   We cannot really overemphasize the importance of writing a valid Will. But, it is also a fact that the majority of people do not make a Will for different reasons. One of the theses reasons is confounding legalese. Whether searching online or while talking to a lawyer, they come across several heavy sounding Will related legal terms. As a result, they lose interest in the subject.

2.  One may not need to understand all the legal terms. But, some of them are really important since they are essential for the validity of a  Will. Due to this, the use of these Will related legal terms becomes necessary like in my other article on the making of a Will.

3.  But there is no need to get hassled by such terms. I have explained below some basic terms that are frequently used in the Will writing process:-

a.    Administrator – means a person appointed by the competent authority (normally a Court)  to administer the estate of the deceased person when there is no executor.

b.   Bequest – also known as a legacy means a gift of property made by Will to a legatee (beneficiary), which takes effect only after the death of the testator unlike a gift made during a lifetime.

c.  Codicil – means a written statement/instrument made in relation to a Will, explaining, altering, or adding to its dispositions. A codicil is an integral part of the Will. You need to execute it separately with the same formality as that of a Will.

d.   Estate– means all the existing and future property. It includes all moveable & immoveable property, interest in the undivided property, partnership, patents, copywrites, digital assets, pets, and anything & everything of value that a person owns. However, with reference to Will, it does not include ancestral property because a person cannot devise the same through a Will.

e.   Executor – means a person to whom the execution (implementation) of the last Will of a deceased person is entrusted by the testator through the Will.

f.    Legatee – or beneficiary means the person/s to whom the estate/property is bequeathed in a Will.

g.   Residuary Estate – means the balance property of the deceased after paying off all debts, expenses, and distribution to all beneficiaries as per the Will.

h.   Testator – means the person making the Will.

4.   Further, here are some more Will related terms which may not be part of the Will writing but are otherwise used in connection with the subject of a Will:-

a.    Intestate – means a person who dies without making a Will. A person leaving behind a Will is called to have died testate.

b.    Letter of Administration – means the authority letter issued by the Court to any person for administration of the deceased’s estate/property when no executor has been appointed.

c.   Living Will – Living Will is a document that allows a person to decide in advance the course of medical treatment he would want if he were rendered terminally or seriously ill and incapable of taking a decision at that point.

d.   Privileged Will – As per Section 65 of the Indian Succession Act, 1925  a privileged Will means a Will made by soldiers, sailors, and airmen engaged in expeditions or actual war. They have been granted the privilege of making an oral Will or a Will without following all the formalities required in normal or unprivileged Will. Muslims can also make a privileged Will.

e.    Probate – means the letter issued by the Court on application by the Executor certifying that the Will annexed is valid.

f.   Succession Certificate – means a Certificate issued by Court certifying the legal status of lawful successor/s to a person dying intestate i.e. without a Will.

5.   I hope that the above explanation would help the readers in understanding the subject. The better understanding will make it easier for them to make a conscious decision of making a Will.

Read more- How To Make A Will