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Useful Definitions

Intestate is the term used to describe a person who dies without leaving a valid Will.

Intestacy is the term used for the administration of an estate where the deceased did not leave a valid Will.

Partial Intestacy is where the deceased made a valid Will but failed to dispose of all of their assets and there is no residual gift clause which deals with the assets not specifically gifted.

Intestacy rules are the legal rules dictating who should:

  1. Be entitled to act as the personal representative (otherwise known as the Administrator) of the deceased and to apply for the Grant of Letters of Administration; and
  2. Benefit from the estate.

Administrator is the legal representative responsible for dealing with the possessions of the deceased (known as the deceased’s estate).

Beneficiary is the person entitled to inherit the estate or a share in the estate (i.e. after the estate assets are collected and the estate debts are settled).

Grant of Letters of Administration is the official document that gives authority for the personal representative to deal with the assets of the deceased.

Power of Attorney is a legal document allowing the personal representative to appoint another to sign documents on their behalf.

Deed of Variation is a legally binding document that allows for the intestacy rules to be varied, providing the person giving and the person receiving agree to the variation.

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