Will Jargon

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    One of the many things that people ask me when I write their wills for them is ” Can they be written in plain English rather than legal wording?”

    Whilst I make every effort to keep the wording as “plain English” as I can, sadly, there are certain areas which necessitate the use of legal language so that the wills are water-tight if ever challenged in Court. With this in mind, I’ve written a short “plain English” explanation of the usual legal words and phrases that get queried, if the one you’re looking for isn’t listed here, please email me and I’ll get back to you personally.


    The Guardianship clause in Joint Wills needs to be read with the understanding that, if your will is being read, it means you are dead, many people query this because they do not have that concept in their minds when reading the clause and the will says something like “if my wife dies before me then ….. shall be Guardian of any children that I have under the age of 18” People then say but if she dies then I want to be Guardian, well you are until you die, then your will is read and that clause takes effect.

    Per Stirpes

    This is a little bit of legal Latin, it literally means “by branch” but in legal terms it refers to someone’s bloodline. Usually it is used in Wills to ensure that if one of the beneficiaries has pre-deceased the testator then that beneficiaries bloodline children inherit their share. Not step-children or spouses or partners, just the beneficiaries bloodline only.

    Definition of your Estate

    The wording in your Will says property, legally this means everything that belongs to you, modern interpretation very often makes people think that it only refers to your house, not so, it also includes bank accounts, cars, furniture, shares etc. This section is in every Will.

    Administration of Your Estate

    Again, this section is in all Wills that I write and tells your Executors what to do in the event of your death, it cannot be changed.

    Standard Provisions

    Again, this is in all Wills written by me and ensures that your Executors act within the law in the best interest of your Beneficiaries.

    Words that you might not be familiar with:

    Executor – the person or people who you trust to carry out all the tasks written into your will. (male or plural)
    Executrix – As above but female

    Testator – the person writing the will (male)
    Testatrix – the person writing the will (female)

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    Matt Walkden Will Writer

    About Matt Walkden

    I am a Professional Will Writer and I offer a small number of other products that complement my Will Writing such as Lasting Power of Attorneys (LPA’s), Fixed Price Estate Administration, often called Probate and some Property Products such as changing a family home from Joint owners to Tenants in Common.

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