Administrator- a person or institution appointed by a court to act on the behalf of the deceased person in connection with the administration of their 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.
Beneficiary- the individual or corporation who receives the benefit of a transaction. For example, the beneficiary of a life insurance policy, trust or a will.
Bond- an insurance policy that protects beneficiaries and heirs from any losses occurred as a result of the executor being dishonest or careless.
Community Property- real or personal property that is owned in common by husband and wife or marital partnership.
Decedent- a deceased person.
Deed- legal document that shows legal ownership of a property.
Discovery- a pre-trial procedure in which each party may obtain evidence or information from the other party by requesting answers to questions and asking for evidence of certain documentations.
Estate- all the assets owned by a person, their ‘net worth’, usually referenced upon their death.
Estate Taxes (Federal)- the death taxes imposed by the federal government on the transfer of 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 known as 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 during his minority.
Heir- a person who inherits property under state law.
Inheritance- to receive a gift or money as a result of someone’s death.
Inheritance Taxes- the taxes imposed, according to the relationship to the deceased person, on the person who receives the property.
Interrogatory- request for additional information (see Discovery).
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.
Letters of Testamentary- a document issued by the probate court that authorizes someone to serve as the executor of an estate when there is a ‘will’.
Liquidate- the act of selling a person’s assets to pay off a debt, or to simply get rid of the items.
Personal Representative- another name for executor or administrator.
Probate- the legal process of resolving the debts of a deceased person and distributing their property under a ‘will.’
Pro per/Pro Se- this is a term used to describe a person that does not have an attorney and is representing themselves in a legal matter.
Real Property- real estate or any property directly attached to the land and the land itself.
Trust- a legal entity established either during a trustor’s lifetime (inter vivos) or at his/her death (testamentary). The trust is governed by the terms set forth in the trust documents. A trust must have a trustee, beneficiary, and a ‘corpus’ or property subjected to the trust.
Trustee- the individual or corporation who in a trust has bare legal title to the assets and has the power given in the trust to carry out the wishes of the person or persons who created the trust.
Trustor- the person or persons who establish a trust.
Will- a document prepared and executed by a person with the formality required by the laws of the state of his primary residence at the time the will was created. Intended to govern and direct the disposition of his/her estate and settlement of his legal affairs at the time of his death. A will has no legal affect until the time of a person’s death.
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