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Some terms found in wills

Administrator
man appointed by court to handle estate of intestate, or if no executor named in will, or if executor is under 21 or dead, mad or abroad.
At her own dispose,absolutely
she may sell, give away or leave by will.
Bond
promise to carry out will and produce inventory or pay named sum, twice value of estate as estimated.
Brother
often = stepbrother or brother-in-law.
Children
legitimate only, unless clearly stated.
Copyhold
perpetual tenancy under Lord of Manor. Can be sold or bequeathed but normally passes to eldest son. Reverts to Lord on intestacy with no male heirs.
Cousin
any relative other than brother, uncle, parent, etc. Often = nephew or niece.
Cousin german
first cousin.
Couverture
state of being married (for women only),without independent powers.
Dower
widow's entitlement to estate.
Dowry
sum given to daughter on marriage.
Executor/Executrix
man/woman appointed by testator to carry out provisions of will.
Father-in-law
often stepfather.
Fee simple
freehold, can be sold, not entailed or subject to reversions.
Fee tail, entail (tail male)
freehold held for life with reversion to named heirs (male)
Free bench
widow's share of copyhold estate.
Heirs of the body
legitimate children.
Heirs male
sons, grandsons or other males.
Heir
anyone inheriting or due to inherit property by will or remainder.
Heirs general, right heirs
male of female heirs able to inherit under common law.
Heirs and assigns
heirs or persons given rights over property (eg, under mortgage).
Intestacy
dying leaving property but no will.
Issue
children.
Jointure
provision made by will or settlement for wife/widow by husband.
Messuage
large house.
Mother
may mean stepmother.
"My terme (of yeares)"
the rest of my lease of property (unexpired).
Of the half blood
with one parent in common.
Own brother
one sharing the same father and mother.
Partial intestacy
incomplete will.
Probate
acceptance of a will as legally made by testator (before disposal of assets).
Put into hotchpot
include money advanced before death to a child in share out.
Relict
widow of the deceased.
Remainder, reversion
legacy which takes effect after some other event (eg, death of the previous holder of property) or in certain circumstances (eg, failure to pay money)
Tenant
holder not usually person paying rent.
Tenement
holding, residence (not a flat)
Testator, testatrix
man or woman making will.
Thirds
widow's share of whole.
"When he comes of age"
reaches 21 or other age at which legacy is payable.

RFM Revised 9/98

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