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Legal Glossary of Terms


Will and estate planning

Before we consider the benefits of making a Will, you may find the following table useful to help you understand some words that are frequently used in Will drafting. These include:

Attorneys - People you choose to make decisions for you through a Power of Attorney during your lifetime for property, finance or healthcare matters

Beneficiary - This is a person who stands to benefit from your Will

Estate - All of your assets (the property you own or have a right to) and possessions whether on your own or with someone else, as well as any debts or liabilities you have (for example, credit card debt or a mortgage) (the liabilities will reduce the value of the assets to leave a ‘net’ estate)

Executors - These are the people who will collect and look after your estate (i.e. establish what assets you have and ensure liabilities are settled), pay any inheritance tax and distribute your estate according to the terms of your Will)

Guardians - Those people appointed to care and provide for your children after your lifetime

Intestate or intestacy - Dying without a valid Will in place, with the result that intestacy law (i.e. a set of prescriptive rules) will determine who gets what from your estate.

Inheritance tax - A tax which is due on the estate of someone who has died, depending on the value of all their assets including property, possessions and money

Mirror Wills - Identical Wills that a couple make, leaving everything to each other.

Power of Attorney - A legal document which appoints your Attorneys to make decisions on your behalf 

Residuary estate or residue - This is the amount or assets left of your estate (often it is the bulk of your estate) after gifts have been made, debts settled and tax paid.

Specific Bequests -  a gift of a specific item or asset to a named person i.e. jewellery, 

Testator  -  You, the person making the Will


Getting to know (GTK) - Period when the IP's and the surrogate get to know each other before the surrogacy agreement

Artificial Insemination - A procedure where sperm are introduced into the reproductive system of a woman using a syringe

Assisted conception - Conception that does not take place naturally through sexual intercourse

CAFCASS - The public body which liaises with the court to provide a parental order reporter in parental order applications.

Embryo - Formed by the fertilisation of two gametes

Gametes - Female gametes are called eggs and male gametes are called sperm.

HFEA - The statutory body that regulates and inspects all licensed fertility clinics in the UK

Intended parents (IP's) - People who intend to become the legal parents of a child born through surrogacy

Intended mother (IM) - Person who intends to become the legal mother of a child born through surrogacy

Intended Father (IF) - Person who intends to become the legal father of a child born through surrogacy

Intrauterine insemination (IUI) - is a type of fertility treatment that aims to separate fast-moving sperm from slow-moving sperm

IVF (in-vitro fertilisation) - A medical procedure by which an egg is fertilised with sperm outside the body, in a controlled environment at a fertility clinic.

Parental Order - Transfers legal parenthood from the surrogate (and in some cases her spouse or civil partner) to the intended parents

Parental Responsibility - All the rights, duties, powers, responsibilities and authority which by law a parent of a child has in relation to the child and the child’s property

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