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Part 1: Using Plain English

At Gilson Gray, we pride ourselves in using plain English to make our legal services as accessible as possible. However, despite all our best efforts, Scots law (and private client in particular) has numerous terms which are alien to many. We have taken the opportunity to put together a glossary of commonly used (and misunderstood!) terms.

Accountant of Court – a court officer who supervises funds held for underage beneficiaries
Affidavit – a statement made under oath.
Attorney – person appointed to act on behalf of another person under a power of attorney
Auctor in rem suam – a person who acts in their own interests
Auditor/Auditor of Court – a person who examines legal accounts to ensure the expenses which have been incurred are reasonable.
Beneficiary – a person who receives a benefit or entitlement under a will or trust.
Bond of Caution – an insurance policy which is taken out by order of the Court in intestate estates and guardianship matters. This ensures that the estate funds are protected in the event the Executor or Guardian acts improperly (Caution is pronounced Kay-shun).
Books of Council & Session – a register for registering deeds and wills for preservation and execution.
Caveat – a legal document which is lodged in court to prevent an order passing without knowledge.
Chargeable Lifetime Transfer – this is a gift or transfer of value which is over the nil rate band allowance for inheritance tax and is therefore subject immediately to a tax charge.
Codicil –an additional document which makes changes to a will without requiring a full redraft.
Commissary – relates to establishing the succession rights and disposal of a deceased’s estate.
Commissary Court – the court which will deal with the confirmation of executors in a deceased’s estate.
Confirmation – authority granted by the court to allow the executor to deal with the ingathering and distribution of an estate.
Continuing Attorney – a person or company appointed under a power of attorney to deal with financial matters.
Deed of Assumption – a document used to appoint an additional trustee or executor.
Deed of Variation – a document which allows an estate distribution to be varied with the agreement of the beneficiary or beneficiaries.
Discretionary Trust – a type of trust which gives the trustees full discretion overpayments to the named beneficiaries.
Domicile – where a person lives or has his/her permanent home
Discharge – a release from an order or obligation.
Eik – a document used which allows executors to obtain title to additional estate of a deceased person.

The information and opinions contained in this blog are for information only. They are not intended to constitute advice and should not be relied upon or considered as a replacement for advice. Before acting on any of the information contained in this blog, please seek specific advice from Gilson Gray.

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