Probate Glossary

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    • Administrator
      A person appointed by the Court to adminster the estate of a person who die without a Will.
    • Beneficiary
      In a probate proceeding, a person who is named in a Will to inherit property.
    • Community Property
      Property acquired by a married person during the marriage, except by gift or inheritance. Property from before the marriage or obtained by gift or inheritance during the marriage is considered separate property. Separate property may become community property by express written agreement or if commingled with community property.
    • Decedent
      A person who has died.
    • Executor
      In a formal probate, the Court will appoint a Personal Representative. If there is a Will, and the person appointed is named in the Will to be the Personal Representative, they are known as the Executor.
    • Heir
      A person who would naturally inherit property through a Will, or from another who died without leaving a Will.
    • Intestate
      Without a Will.
    • Personal Representative
      The generic title of a person who is appointed by the Court to act on behalf of and manage the decedent’s estate. In most cases, the Will titled either Executor, Administrator, Administrator with Will Annexed or Special Administrator. Executors are named to serve in the Will. Administrators with Will Annexed are not named, but are appointed by the Court to serve when there is a Will. Administrators are appointed to administer an intestate estate (no Will).
    • Testate
      When someone dies leaving a Will.
    • Will
      A document which appoints an executor or revokes or revises another Will. Typically a Will also lists a person’s “testamentary intent:” their instructions about what will happen with their property after their death.

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