Glossary of terms

Some commonly used legal language you may hear when dealing with Deceased Estates.


Person or persons legally authorised by Letters of Administration to administer the Estate when there is no Will or when there is a problem with the Executor named in the Will.


Someone who is the recipient of funds, property or other benefits under a Will.


A gift of personal property of any kind, including a legacy (e.g. a gift of a specific sum of money).

Case Manager

The Westpac person who will be responsible for settling an Estate on your behalf.


A supplementary amendment to your Will.


 The person making a claim to the Estate.

Death Certificate

An official document  containing information when someone passes away, including the date, place and cause of death.


The person who is declaring that the information they are giving is true.

Estates Management Team

The team within Westpac specialised in helping you settle the Estate of the deceased Westpac customer.


The property and assets belonging to a person who has died is called their Deceased Estate. The Deceased Estate is held in trust from the death of the person until the transfer of the property and assets to the beneficiaries.

Estate of Account

The name of an account opened and operated by the Executors/Administrators of an Estate if they want to continue the operation of a deceased’s account  once we've been notified of the customer’s death and the Estate  is being administered.


Estate solicitor

A solicitor or law firm who is acting on behalf of the Estate.


Person or persons nominated in a Will to administer the Estate on behalf of beneficiaries of the deceased. The Executor is responsible for locating the Will and following the Will’s instructions for funeral requirements, collecting all assets, finalising outstanding liabilities and distributing the assets in accordance with the deceased person’s instructions. 


The name given to the situation that arises when someone dies without leaving a valid Will.


When there are no funds in an estate i.e no liquid assets.

Letters of Administration

The grant made by the Court to the person who's been appointed to administer an Estate of a person who died intestate (without a valid Will).

Personal Representative

An Administrator or an Executor.

Power of Attorney

A Power of Attorney gives someone (the attorney) the authority to act legally on your behalf to the extent specified in the Power of Attorney document.


Order granted by High Courts confirming the identified Will is the true and last Will of the deceased, and declaring the Executor/s are lawfully entitled to deal with the deceased’s Estate . Probate is usually required when there is a large sum of money or assets involved.


What's left of your Estate after all expenses have been paid, and specific and general Bequests have been made.

Testamentary trust

A Testamentary Trust is a trust established by a Will. It does not come into effect until after the death of the person making the Will. At this point, specified deceased Estate property is transferred to a Trustee who holds the assets in trust for the beneficiaries. A Testamentary Trust is not the same trust as the Deceased Estate. A Testamentary Trust may last for many years after the Estate has been fully administered. The information provided within this document does not apply to Testamentary Trusts. 

Trust company

Public Trust, Trustees Executors, Perpetual Guardian are Trust Companies that operate in New Zealand and they can assist with the administration of an Estate.


A written legal instruction of how a person wants their property to be distributed on their death. To be valid, it must comply with correct legal requirements


The person who has made, changed, revoked or revived the Will and is the equivalent of testator (male) or testatrix (female).