Legal Glossary

Probate, wills and inheritance related legal words, terms & phrases explained in plain English…


Accidental Death Insurance

Insurance that pays money to you or your loved ones if you are hurt or killed in an accident. It does not cover death due to sickness or natural causes. Also called Accidental Death & Dismemberment (AD&D) insurance.


The settling of a dispute by an arbitrator. Arbitration is a long established alternative to litigation (which may not always be less complex) and which involves an arbitrator reaching a judgment, which is binding on both parties. Where arbitrators cannot agree they may appoint an “umpire”. The decision of an arbitrator is known as an “award”.



A gift in a will of personal property known also as a “legacy”. A residuary bequest is a gift of the residue of the testator`s personal estate, namely, of what is left after payment of debts and legacies. A specific bequest is, strictly, where a testator bequeaths to a person all his property of a certain class or kind, but it is commonly used to mean a legacy of a particular article e.g. a watch.

Bona Fide

The Latin term “Bona fide” means, in a UK legal context: “sincere, in good faith”.