Probate Terms

Administrator: an individual appointed by the courts to manage a deceased person’s estate that did not have a will.

Agent/Attorney­in­fact:  An individual who has power of attorney and performs on behalf of the principal.The power of attorney is terminated upon the death of the principal.

Beneficiary(s): Individual(s) that are not directly related to the deceased person, but are entitled to some benefit of the estate. (Will)

Bequeath: Giving personal property by means of a will from a deceased person’s estate to the decedent’s heirs/beneficiaries.

Decedent: Deceased person

Estate: All the property the decedent owned. (Gross estate ) the total value of the assets as defined for estate tax purposes.

Estate administration: Organizing and determining what occurs to the deceased person's assets.

Estate tax:  Imposed tax on deceased person’s transferable assets to the heirs and beneficiaries.

Executor/ Personal Representative (PR):

An individual appointed by a will that has been validated by the courts is responsible for managing the deceased persons probate estate.

Heirs: Direct lineage of the deceased person and refers to blood relatives such as parents, siblings, and children, spouse, cousins, aunts and uncles.

Holographic will:  A will handwritten and signed by the deceased person.

Intestate:A person who dies without a legal will.

Letters of Administration­ Legal documents which authorize the administration of a deceased person’s estate by the administrator.

Life estate deed:  An irrevocable deed transferring the remainder of real estate upon owner's death.  A probate avoider.

Living Trust:  A legal document that transfers assets upon death to avoid probate.

Probate­ the legal process and distribution of a deceased person’s estate.

Probate Court: a court that has jurisdiction and deals with validating wills and the administration of estates of deceased individuals.

Redaction: the process of editing court documents to remove sensitive information such as SS#, date of birth, and account numbers.

Testamentary: testament or intent of an individual who makes a will.

Testator/Testatrix:  an individual who constructs and signs a will.Testator is male and testatrix is female.

Will:  A legal document that explains the distribution of an individual’s estate after death.