Glossary of terms and FAQs.
We know that the terminology used when dealing with an estate can be confusing. Our FAQs and glossary give you simple explanations of terms you may come across with deceased estates.
Glossary of terms.
Some commonly used legal language you may hear when dealing with deceased estates.
A person who handles and finalises an estate with no will. The administrator(s) are responsible for collecting assets, finalising outstanding liabilities and finally distributing the remaining assets to the beneficiaries. For large estates, the administrator(s) will be legally authorised by the High Court document “Letters of Administration”. For smaller estates, the administrator will usually be a close family member.
A person who inherits funds, property or other benefits from an estate.
A gift of personal property of any kind, including a legacy (e.g. a gift of a specific sum of money).
Your Westpac contact person who will help you finalise the Westpac bank accounts and products.
A supplementary amendment to a Will.
A person making a claim to the Estate.
An official document issued by the Department of Internal Affairs used to prove that someone has passed away. A death certificate contains specific information to a person's death including the date, place and cause of death.
A person who is declaring that the information they are giving is true.
Deceased Estates Management Team
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The property and assets belonging to a person who has passed away. 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 on behalf of an estate once probate or letters or administration have been granted.
A solicitor or a law firm who is acting on behalf of an Estate.
A person named in a will to handle and finalise an estate. The executor(s) are responsible for locating the will and following the will's instructions for funeral requirements, collecting assets, finalising outstanding liabilities and finally distributing the remaining assets in accordance with the deceased person's instructions. For large estates, the executor(s) will be legally authorised by the High Court document “probate”.
When someone passes away without leaving a valid Will.
When an estate's liabilities are greater than the total value of the estate's assets
Letters of Administration
A grant made by the High Court to the person(s) who have been appointed to administer the estate of a person who has passed away intestate (without a valid will). Letters of administration are usually only required for larger estates.
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. Both power of attorney and enduring power of attorney cease upon the death of the donor.
A grant made by the High Court confirming the identified will is the true and last will of the deceased, and declaring the executor(s) named in that will are lawfully entitled to handle and finalise the estate. Probate is usually only required for larger estates.
What's left of an estate after all expenses have been paid and specific and general bequests have been made.
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 trustee(s) who hold 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 an estate has been fully administered. The information provided within this document does not apply to testamentary trusts.
Public Trust, Trustees Executors and Perpetual Guardian are Trust Companies that operate in New Zealand and may be able to assist with the administration of an estate.
A written legal instruction of how a person wants their property to be distributed upon their death. To be valid, it must comply with correct legal requirements.
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