AGE OF MAJORITY is now 18 years. However, you can define "Majority"
in your own Will to be a higher age, e.g. 21 years, if you want to. This is optional.
ATTESTATION CLAUSE is the statement at the end of the Will saying
that it has been duly executed (signed) in the presence of witnesses. The witness
who watches you sign your Will and signs it after you is an attesting witness.
BENEFICIARY/BENEFICIARIES means the person or persons you mention
in your will and who you want to benefit under your Will.
ESTATE means all of your assets - your personal property (including
shares) and your real property (real estate), including any shared real estate (other
than jointly owned property - see further below). Your estate can include property
which you acquired after the time you made your will.
EXECUTION means the act of signing and dating your Will and having
it witnessed. (Remember you must have at least two witnesses present when you sign,
and all of you must use the same pen).
EXECUTOR & TRUSTEE (or sometimes EXECUTRIX
is used, if the person is female) means the person you appoint in your Will to carry
out the instructions you leave in your Will, and to do what the law requires to
be done when you die. (You should speak to your chosen executor first, before naming
him or her in your will). Your Executor will obtain Probate of your Will.
GUARDIAN is the person you name in your Will as the person to look
after your children (if they are still minors) or any mentally impaired dependants,
if they do not already have a guardian. (You should obtain the consent of your chosen
guardian first, before naming him or her in your will.)
JOINT TENANT you may own property (for example real estate, furniture,
shares or money in the bank) jointly with another person or persons in one of two
ways - either as a joint tenant or as a tenant in common. (for tenant in common
see the explanation below). Sometimes a joint tenant is known as a joint proprietor.
If you are a joint tenant you cannot give away your share of the property in your
will because all of the joint tenants own the property as a whole. When you die,
the whole of the property remains with the other joint tenant (or joint tenants).
Your share passes to the other joint tenant(s) owner(s) who outlive you. If the
title to your house, for example, was put in the names of you and your spouse when
you bought it, and there is no specification as to who holds what share, then you
are most likely to hold the property as joint tenants or joint proprietors. It is
not possible for joint tenants to hold unequal shares in the property.
MINOR is a person who is not yet 18 years old.
PROBATE or "Grant of Probate" is the term used when your
Executor obtains an official document or certificate from the Probate Office which
allows him or her to deal with your bank accounts, shares, and real estate, etc.
REVOCATION/ REVOKED means that the Will no longer has any legal
RESIDUARY ESTATE means the remainder or residue of your estate
after specific gifts, debts and testamentary and funeral expenses have been paid.
This is usually the largest part of the willmaker's estate.
SPECIFIC GIFTS OR BEQUESTS are those special items from your estate
which you state in your Will are to go to a particular person.
SPOUSE means your husband or wife.
TENANTS IN COMMON In contrast to owning property as a joint tenant,
if you own property as a Tenant in common you can give away your share of your property
in your will. Where there is a tenancy in common, each person holds a proportional
share of the property, and unequal shares are possible.
TESTAMENTARY EXPENSES means essentially the expenses involved in
getting a grant of probate of your will.
TESTATOR (or TESTATRIX if female) is the Willmaker,
that is, you.