PROBATE GLOSSARY

Abatement - A proportional diminution or reduction of the pecuniary legacies, when there are not sufficient funds to pay them in full.

Ademption - When property mentioned in a will cannot be given to a beneficiary because it no longer belonged to the deceased at the time of death. For example, the particular gift may have been destroyed, sold, or given away between the time of the will and the time of death.

Administrator - A person or institution appointed by a court to act on behalf of the deceased person in connection with the administration of the decedent’s estate.

Administrator with Will Annexed (for Administrator CTA) - An administrator appointed by a court to act on behalf of the deceased person who left a will, but where no nominated executor is willing and able to act.

Affidavit - A written statement of affirmation made under penalty of perjury that requires notarization.

Ancillary Administration - An administration of a decedent's property located in a state other that the state of the decedent’s domicile.

Beneficiary - The individual or corporation who receives the benefit of a transaction (e.g., beneficiary of a life insurance policy, beneficiary of a trust, or beneficiary under a will.)

Codicil - An addition to a will, the codicil may modify, add to, subtract from, qualify, later, or revoke provisions in the will. The codicil is a separate document. It is signed with the same formalities as a will. The codicil is a separate document. It is signed with the same formalities as a will. The codicil can be changed, revoked, cancelled, or destroyed at any time.

Community Property - Real or personal property that is owned in common by husband and wife as a kind of marital partnership. Either spouse has management and control of the community real and personal property; however, both spouses must join in a transfer of ownership or lease for more than one year of community real property or a gift of community personal property. All property acquired during marriage from earnings, and the earnings themselves, are community property. Property acquired by gift or inheritance is separate property, not community property.

Testamentary Trust - The trust that comes into being only as a result of the death of a person whose will provides for the creation of the trust after his death, hence, the term “testamentary.” Once in existence, the trust is irrevocable.

Testate - Refers to someone who dies leaving a will.

Testator - The person who signs the will that disposes of his property; testatrix is the female term. It is common as a convenience to use the term testator for either a man or a woman.

Trust - A legal entity established either during a trustor’s lifetime (inter vivos) or at his death (testamentary). The trust is governed by the terms set forth in the trust documents. A trust must have a trustee, a beneficiary, and a “corpus” or property subjected to the trusts.

Trustee - The individual or corporation who in a trust has bare legal to the assets and has power given in the trust to carry out the wishes of the person or persons (trust or trustors) who created the trust. The trustee has a fiduciary obligation to the trust’s beneficiaries enforceable in court if not carries out. The trustee is subject to strict regulation. Although he has legal title for convenience, the beneficial or equitable title is in fact owned by the beneficiaries. When there is more than one trustee, the trustees are called co-trustees .

Trustor - The person or persons who establish a trust. There can be more than once trustor.

Will - A document, prepared and executed by a person with the formality required by the laws of the state of this domicile at the time, which is intended to govern and direct the disposition of his estate and settlement of his legal affairs at the time of his death and which has no legal effect until his death. If the document is entirely in the person’s own handwriting, it is called a “holographic will.” If a will is typed ,it is called a “witnessed will” because the signing of it generally requires two or more witnesses to testify later, if necessary, that the execution was not procured by fraud, duress, or misinterpretation.

Disclaimer - A refusal to accept, for example, a testamentary gift that is made in a prescribed manner and time.

Estate Taxes - Federal - The death taxes imposed the federal government on the transfer of the assets upon death.

Executor - The individual or corporation appointed in a will by a testator to take care of the testator’s property after his death. Also called a personal representative.

Ex Parte - A judicial proceeding granted without notice.

Fiduciary - A person charged with a high degree of care who acts on behalf of another. Executors and trustees are fiduciaries.

Guardian - The individual or corporation who legally has charge of the care and management of the person, property, or both, of a child his minority.

Heir - The person who inherits property under state law.

Intestate - Refers to someone who dies leaving no will.

Irrevocable Trust - A trust whose terms and provisions cannot be changed, modified, altered, amended, or revoked.

Joint Tenancy - A form of property ownership by two or more persons, often designated as “joint tenants with right survivorship.” Joint tenants always own equal parts of joint tenancy property. When a joint tenant dies, his or her interest in the property automatically goes to the surviving joint tenant.

Personal Representative - This term describes an executor or administrator

Pour-over will - A will that provides for the transfer, after or during the probate court proceedings, of all or part of the net assets of a decedent’s probate estate from the executor’s control to the control of a trustee who is in charge of a trust that was in existence immediately before the death of the
deceased person (inter vivos trust).

Real Property - An interest in land or property permanently affixed to land.

Revocable Trust - A method of distribution, sometimes referred to as “per stirpes,” whereby the share of distribution of a deceased beneficiary is divided equally among his children.

Tenancy In Common - A form of holding title to real or personal property by two or more persons. Because there is no right of survivorship, the legal relationships and results are very different from joint tenancy.Tenants in common need not hold equal interest, according to the laws of intestate succession.