Unpacking the terminology used in a will

Asset

Property owned by one’s estate. It may include items such as your properties and contents, cars, shares, investments, retirement benefits, etc.

Beneficiaries

The listed individuals and/or institutions that shall inherit your estate in the event of your death

Bequest

An act of giving personal property or financial assets such as stocks, bonds, jewellery and cash to an individual or organization through provisions of a will or estate plan

Capital Gains Tax

A tax that is paid on the gains and growth of assets held by an individual or organisation when they are liquidated in one’s estate

Estate

It refers to everything you own; all your assets (moveable property and immovable property) as well as your liabilities (debts)

Estate Duty

A tax payable on the estate that was owned by the deceased and must be paid prior the remaining estate being distributed to the beneficiaries. This applies only to estates above a certain threshold

Executor

The person/people appointed by the testator/testatrix who are tasked with the job of carrying out ones wishes, in the event of his/her death.

Intestate

When you die without having left a valid Will

Liabilities

Are obligations that the testator/testatrix is liable for in the event of death

Testator/Testatrix

The person whose wishes are being documented (Testator is male, and Testatrix is female)

Guardian

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

Testamentary

Trust A trust that is specified in the Will which is only established upon the passing of a testator usually to manage assets left behind to minors

Revocation

Is a clause that calls for a cancellation of all your previous Wills.

Living Will

Explains how you are to be taken care of medically if you are unable to communicate how you are to be treated yourself. This document will communicate whether you wish to be kept live by artificial means in the event that there is no hope of recovery.