Administrator – Someone who is appointed to manage the deceased’s estate, if the deceased did not have a will (see: “Administrators are appointed by the court”).
Assets – The property (including money, land, houses and chattels) that someone owns.
Bequest – Property (other than money) given to someone in a will.
Capacity, also called “Legal capacity” or “of sound mind” – You are considered to have capacity if you are able to:
- understand information,
- appreciate the nature and consequences of a situation,
- use information rationally, and
- communicate your choices to others.
S v Attorney-General  NZHC 2629 at  Protection of Personal and Property Rights Act 1988, s 5
Codicil – An additional or supplementary will made after the original will has been signed. The codicil doesn’t cancel the original will. It changes that will or adds to it.
Grant of administration – a general term that covers:
- when the court grants probate for a will, and
- when it appoints someone to manage the estate by granting “letters of administration” (when there’s no will).
Estate – Everything that a person owns or controls at the time of their death.
Executor – The person appointed in the deceased’s will to manage the estate (see: “Choosing an executor”).
Intestate – If you die without a will (or if your will doesn’t cover all of your property), you will be said to have died “intestate”.
The laws of intestacy – Laws that determine how property is divided, and who it is distributed to, if someone dies without a will.
Legacy – Money or other property left by a will.
Letters of administration – A High Court order (also known as an “order to administer”) that appoints someone an “administrator”.
Personal representative – A general term for the person who manages the deceased person’s estate – either the person appointed to do this under a will (the “executor”), or, if there’s no will, the person appointed by the courts to do this under “letters of administration” (the “administrator”).
Probate – A High Court order that establishes that a will is valid and gives the executor authority to deal with the estate.
Will-maker – A person who makes, changes, revokes or revives a will (sometimes used to be called a “testator” or “testatrix”).