Probate Terms (glossary)
Here are some important probate terms you’ll want to know:
- Beneficiary: A person who inherits when there is a Will.
- Custodian of the Will: The person who has the Will when the person who wrote the Will dies.
- Decedent (or deceased): The person who died.
- Decedent’s estate: All the property (real or personal) that a person owned at the time of death.
- Executor: A person named in a Will and appointed by the Court to carry out the dead person’s wishes.
- Heir: A person who inherits when there is no Will.
- Intestate: When someone dies without leaving a Will.
- Intestate succession: The order of who inherits the property when someone dies without a Will.
- Legatees, or devisees: People who are named in a Will.
- Personal property: Things like cash, stocks, jewelry, clothing, furniture, or cars.
- Personal representative (or administrator or executor): The person responsible for overseeing the distribution of the estate.
- Probate: The process of deciding where, how, and to whom to distribute the decedent’s property.
- Real property: Buildings and land.
- Testate: When someone dies leaving a Will.
- Trust: When one person (trustee) holds property at another person’s (settlor’s) request for the benefit of someone else (the beneficiary).
- Will: A legal paper that lists a person’s wishes about what will happen to his/her property after death.