Wills Glossary (16:App C)

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This information applies to British Columbia, Canada. Last reviewed for legal accuracy by the Law Students' Legal Advice Program on July 8, 2022.


  • a person appointed by the court to manage the estate of a person who dies intestate (without a valid will)


  • an act of authenticating, affirming to be true, genuine, or correct, in an official capacity of a legal document


  • (a) a person named in a will to receive all or part of an estate, or
  • (b) a person having a beneficial interest in a trust created by a will Cash legacy – a grant by will of money

Cash legacy

  • a grant by will of money


  • an addition to a will, that changes, explains, revokes, or adds provisions

Equitable title

  • a title to property in which a party has a beneficial interest and will eventually acquire legal title. For example, the beneficiary of a trust has an equitable title in assets held in the trust


  • properties of a deceased person

Exclusion clause

  • a provision in a will that leaves something or someone out of the will


  • an act of signing and otherwise completing a testamentary document, such as acknowledging the signature if required to make the document valid


  • a person appointed by will to manage the estate of a person who has died leaving a valid will. The executor must ensure that the person's desires expressed in the will are carried out. Practical responsibilities include gathering up and protecting the assets of the estate, obtaining information in regard to all beneficiaries named in the will and any other potential heirs, collecting and arranging for payment of debts of the estate, approving or disapproving creditor's claims, making sure estate taxes are calculated, forms filed and tax payments made, and in all ways assisting the lawyer for the estate (which the executor can select)

Express powers

  • stated rights, authorities and abilities in a will of the Executor to take some action or accomplish something, including demanding action, executing documents, contracting, taking title, transferring, exercising legal rights and other acts


  • to guarantee against any loss which another might suffer


  • a situation where a person dies without a legally valid will

Joint tenancy

  • an ownership of real property in which each party owns an undivided interest in the entire property, with both having the right to use all of it and the right of survivorship

Legal title

  • the ownership of real propert, which stands against the right of anyone else to claim the property. In real property, legal title is evidenced by a deed, judgment of distribution from an estate, or other appropriate document recorded in the public records

Living will

  • a document in which a person appoints another as his/her proxy or representative to make decisions on maintaining extraordinary life-support if the person becomes too ill, is in a coma or is certain to die. Living wills are not legally valid in B.C. The B.C. equivalent document is called a “Representation Agreement”

Mirror wills

  • the wills of an individual and their spouse which are identical except that each leaves the same gifts to the other, and each names the other as executor

Mutual wills

  • the wills made by two partners in which each gives their estate to the other, or with dispositions they both agree upon. A later change by either is not invalid unless it can be proved that there was a contract in which each makes the will in the consideration for the other person making the will

Personal representative

  • either the Executor named in the will of a deceased individual or a court-appointed Administrator; charged with administering and distributing the estate


  • the process of proving a will is valid and thereafter administering the estate of a dead person according to the terms of the will

Revocation clause

  • a provision in a will that cancels any wills previously made


  • the right to receive full legal title or ownership of a property due to having survived another person in a joint tenancy

Tenancy in common

  • the title to real property held by two or more persons, in which each has an "undivided interest" in the property and all have an equal right to use the property, even if the percentage of interests are not equal or the living spaces are different sizes. Unlike "joint tenancy," there is no "right of survivorship" so that if one of the tenants in common dies, each interest may be separately sold, mortgaged or willed to another

Testamentary capacity

  • having the mental competency to execute a will at the time the will was signed and witnessed


  • a person who has made a will which is in effect at the time of their death.


  • an entity created to hold assets for the benefit of certain persons or entities, with a trustee managing the trust (and often holding title on behalf of the trust)


  • a person or entity who holds the assets (corpus) of a trustee for the benefit of the beneficiaries and manages the trust and its assets under the terms of the trust stated in the declaration of trust which created it

Wind up

  • to liquidate (sell or dispose of) assets of an entity

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