This blog entry is the first in a series of blogs about probate, what is is, who is involved, how long does it take, and what does it cost.
Estate planning lawyers use a lot of terms in probate that most laymen do not know the meaning of unless they have been a participant in the probate process. The following is a short glossary of terms used in probate so that you understand who the players are and what the definitions are of commonly used terms.
Administrator – the individual appointed by the probate court to administer the decedent’s estate when there is no will
Beneficiary – the person or persons named in the decedent’s will who are entitled to the distribution of the decedent’s assets. Usually the beneficiaries are the decedent’s heirs but there is no requirement that they be such. If the probate is one where the decedent did not have a will, California laws on intestate succession will determine the beneficiaries who are entitled to a distribution of the estate.
Bequest – a gift under a will
Bond – an insurance policy used to ensure that a legal representative such as an administrator or executor will do his or her job and not misuse or misappropriate funds he or she is in control of
Codicil – an amendment or supplement to a will that modifies, alters, or revokes the provisions of a prior will
Decedent – the individual who died
Estate – All the property that the decedent owned at the time of death
Executor – the individual named in the decedent’s will to administer the decedent’s estate
Intestate – refers to the fact that the decedent died without a will so that his or her heirs will receive the assets of the estate according to the laws of intestate succession
Look for later blogs about other aspects of probate. If we can assist you by answering your questions about probate or handling your probate matter, feel free to contact us.