Common terms explained

In your dealings with us, you'll find there are some common terms we use. Here are definitions of what they mean and when you might come across them.

If you are:

  • receiving an inheritance
  • planning for the future
  • planning for future generations

then see Estates, wills and EPAs.

If you are:

  • buying a new home
  • selling your existing home
  • purchasing an investment property

then see Property-related terms.

Estates, wills and EPAs

AssetsAssets are items of economic value that you own.
BeneficiaryAny person, organisation, trust or charity who will benefit under the will.
Bequest or giftA bequest is a gift that you have made to a person or organisation in your will. This is usually a specific item or items such as jewellery, a vehicle or an amount of money for education. (A bequest of a home or land is sometimes called a 'devise'.)
DebtsDebts are amounts of money that you owe to others.
DisbursementsFees from various organisations that we pay on behalf of the estate (such as bank fees, valuations, lawnmowing etc.).
DistributionA payment made, or an asset transferred.
EPA (or EPOA)An Enduring Power of Attorney is a legal document in which you appoint a person or organisation to make decisions on your behalf if your circumstances change in the future and you are no longer in a position to look after yourself or your property. Learn more about EPAs and how you can get one. Most people need both types of EPA: see property attorney and personal care and welfare attorney below.
EstateEverything a person owns at the time of their death.
Executor The executor and trustee is the person or organisation responsible for carrying out the wishes in the will and paying the beneficiaries. Learn about choosing an appropriate executor in your will.
Grant of administration (of probate)The court's approval giving the executor the right to deal with the estate.
Guardian (or testamentary guardian)Someone who will look after a child's welfare when a parent dies before the child is 18. The guardian helps to make important decisions about the child's development and welfare. A guardian doesn't automatically become the day-to-day caregiver of the child. More about guardians.
IntestateYou are said to be intestate if you die without a will.
Personal care and welfare attorneyThe person you have appointed in your personal care and welfare EPA to make decisions about health or personal matters affecting you if you can't look after yourself. See also EPA above.
Plan of administrationThe plan we agree with the beneficiaries setting out how the estate will be managed and settled - it details what will be done, when, and who will do it.
ProbateProbate means that a person or organisation has been given permission to administer your estate by the court. Administration may include collecting and valuing assets, paying debts and distributing valuables to your beneficiaries.
Property attorneyThe person you have appointed in your property EPA to manage your assets if you can't look after them yourself. See also EPA above.
Statement of accountThe account of how the estate was settled. It shows all the assets, what was done with one and what each beneficiary received.
TransmissionThis is the process by which an executor takes ownership of a property.

A will is a legal document that is unique to you and can help make sure your assets, the people and things you love are taken care of after you’re gone. It also specifies who is responsible for carrying out your final wishes; this person is known as the executor of your will. More about Wills.

Property-related terms

ConveyancingThe legal process of buying and selling a house
Cross leaseAll parties own an undivided share in the land and lease homes to one other, without needing to pay rent
DepositA percentage or fixed dollar value of the purchase price paid by the buyer on signing an agreement
EquityThe value of the property, less debt secured by it
Fixed interest rateThe interest rate is fixed for a set period of time e.g. 5 years
FreeholdYou own the land and home with the least restrictions of all kinds of ownership
InterestThe amount your mortgagee (e.g. Public Trust) charges for the loan over its life
Land Information Memorandum (LIM)A document issued by the Council with information relating to or affecting a property
LeaseholdYou own the home, but you lease the land and pay rent for it
PrincipalThe amount you borrow (does not include interest)
PurchaserWhoever buys a property
Sale and purchase agreementA written contract between the seller and buyer
TermThe period of time a loan is in place
TitleThe legal right of ownership of the property (whether freehold, leasehold or other interest)
Unit titleA title that provides freehold or leasehold ownership of a unit in a multi-unit building subject to body corporate rules
Variable interest rateA rate that can move up and down. Also known as floating interest rate
VendorWhoever is selling the property