Probate Terminology

You may want to know some of the following Probate words and phrases.

What is an A/B Trust? – A trust set up to preserve a portion of the trust property/assets for certain beneficiaries, while keeping the other portion available for the support of the surviving Settlor. This type of trust requires actions by the Trustee after the first death of a Settlor.

What is an Estate Administrator? – A person, or financial institution, appointed by the court to oversee an estate where there is no will. The Administrator is also commonly referred to as the Personal Representative.

What is a Beneficiary? – A person who inherits property because he or she is named in a will or trust.

What is a Probate Bond? – An insurance policy that, unless waived by a Will or Trust (and agreed to by the judge in the case of a Will), is required by the courts. The amount of the bond is determined by the type of authority sought by the Petitioner and the value of the property that is estimated to exist in the estate. Larger bonds require a good credit rating.

What is a Codicil to a will? – A document which legally changes a will through supplement or amendment.

Court Supervision – The Probate Division of the Superior Court supervises the probate procedure, but they do so according to their rules and definitions. For example, most actions by the Estate Personal Representative are only reviewed by the court at the end of the process, upon the filing of the Report, Account, and Petition for Final Distribution.

What is a Decedent? – A person who has passed a way.

What is an Estate? – A decedent’s total assets, both real and personal, which are managed by the Personal Representative.

What is an Executor? – The person named in the will to carry out the directions as set forth in the will. The Executor is also commonly referred to as the Personal Representative. Traditionally, a woman serving in that capacity was called an Executrix.

What is an Heir? – A person who inherits through the laws of intestacy when there is no will.

What is Intestate? – Without a will.

What are Letters of Administration? – The court document issued to a person authorizing them to act as the administrator when there is no will.

Whats are Letters Testamentary? – The court document issued to a person authorizing them to act as the Executor when named in will.

What is a Living Trust? – A Living Trust is a trust that can be changed during the lifetime of the Settlors.

What is a Personal Representative? (PR) – A person, or financial institution, appointed to oversee an estate whether as executor, administrator or administrator with will annexed.

What is a Petitioner? – The person bringing a Petition before the court. Usually the person seeking to be made the Estate Personal Representative.

What is the Probate Code? – The set of laws that controls the process of probating estates, trust administration, and other probate related matters.

What is a Probate Referee? – A person licensed by the State and appointed by the probate court judge to appraise property held by an estate. The term referee does not mean they decide any other types of issues during a probate.

What is a Revocable Trust? – A revocable trust is the same as a living trust. It can be changed during the lifetime of the settlors.

What is a Settlor? – Synonymous with Trustor, this is the person or persons who set up the trust and contributed the money and/or property to it.

What are Statutory Commissions? – Fees paid to an Executor or Estate Administrator calculated upon a schedule in the Probate Code. They are based upon the estate’s gross value regardless of mortgages or other debts. If the Executor is also the sole beneficiary, they may want to waive those fees. Contact OrangeCountyProbate to find out why.

What are Statutory Fees? – Attorney fees calculated upon a schedule in the Probate Code. They are based upon the estate’s gross value regardless of mortgages or other debts.

What is Testate? – A person who dies with a valid will dies testate and the estate is disposed by according to the will.

What is a Trust? – A legal entity, somewhat like a corporation, that holds property and directs how and when the property can be distributed or spent.

What is a Trustee? – The Person or Persons who administer the Trust. They may be the initial Settlors, or they can be someone else who was named or succeeded to the position.

What is a Trustor? – Synonymous with Settlor, this is the person or persons who set up the trust and contributed the money and/or property to it.

What is a Will? – A document which directs the disposition of a person’s property after death. It becomes legally operative after the court orders the will into probate and issues Letters Testamentary.

 

If you are trying to find out what some of these words or phrases mean, you well may be in a situation that needs an attorney.

Call or email to schedule a free consultation today.

 

 

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