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Glossary Of Common Probate Terms

The intent of this glossary is to provide individuals going through probate with a general understanding of terms commonly used in Probate Law and their application. The definitions within this document are not comprehensive and are not intended to serve as a substitute for independent research of the law or for a probate attorney. We have however, reviewed the terms and we have worked with members of the law to check and review our content to provide you with the best and most up to date information. We believe that probate can be confusing and understanding the different terms is very important to navigate the process.

If you have any questions or would like to contribute to our glossary, please feel free to visit our contact page.

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  • The term abate refers to ending or cancelling out. This term is a doctrine that can be used in probate proceedings. The definition of abate "To end; cancel out" means that the estate has assets that are not equal to the amount of debts in the(...) Read More
  • Abatement is a legal term used to explain what becomes of a real estate property when there aren’t adequate shares to split between beneficiaries of a will. Not just real estate, but money and other physical assets can be included as part of(...) Read More
  • An Abstract of Judgement is a court document that states the amount of money a defendant (the debtor) owes the claimant(the creditor), the court costs, and the interest rate on the said amount.  Here, both parties accept the recorded and(...) Read More
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  • An act or system of settling accounts; it's a statement that summarizes an entire estate looking at credits, debits, and liabilities from real estate to investment accounts. An inventory of assets is different from an estate accounting which(...) Read More
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  • Ad Litem is a probate term derived from Latin words; "for the suit". In law, it's simply described as the act of appointing someone, an attorney to represent or litigation on behalf of a claimant or defendant.  In Ad Litem, The person being(...) Read More
  • Ademption is a common law doctrine that is used to describe when a real estate property is listed in a will. This is especially if the property wasn't in the testator's possession before he/she died.  Ademption mostly occurs if the said(...) Read More
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  • A probate administrator is a person who is appointed by a court to administer the probate of an estate. The probate process involves the legal process of identifying, gathering, and distributing the assets of a person who has died. The role(...) Read More
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  • Administrator with will annexed refers to a person is appointed by the court to administer an estate when someone dies with a will that does not name an executor. When an executor is unspecified or unavailable, a court may appoint a person to(...) Read More
  • Adverse possession is a category of probate law that allows an individual who takes possession of someone else’s land to become a legal owner of the property. Otherwise known as squatters’ rights, an adverse possession claim can heavily(...) Read More
  • Affiant is a legal term in probate used to describe a responsible person who can take a vow or swear under an oath. The person also needs to be aware of all facts presented in all legal proceedings involving affidavits.  As an affiant, you(...) Read More
  • A written statement made under oath. An affidavit is a written statement that can be sworn in as true, but only if made voluntarily and without coercion. It's important to note who the person making this statement has knowledge of what they(...) Read More
  • As recognized in law, the age of majority is the beginning point of a person's adulthood. Once an individual gets to this point in their life, they will no longer be considered as a minor. Thus, they are assumed to be legal and can now control(...) Read More
  • Amended is a probate term used to refer to the will that has been updated, changed, and generally improved by an individual.  To change a document that has been filed in court by replacing it with a new version. In Probate, an amendment(...) Read More
  • An amendment is a probate term used to refer to the will that has been updated, changed, and generally improved by an individual.  To change a document that has been filed in court by replacing it with a new version. In Probate, an(...) Read More
  • Ancillary Administration is a process through which a deceased's real estate properties in the state he or she didn't live in are administered to the beneficiaries.  The main purpose of the ancillary administration is to distribute the(...) Read More
  • In probate law, an annuitant is entitled to regular monetary benefits of a pension or annuity investment. The annuitant is the owner of the annuity contract. It may also be the surviving child, spouse, friend, or any other person the annuity(...) Read More
  • During a criminal prosecution, the court demands that the defendant shows up in front of the judge once the proceedings start. State and federal laws of criminal procedures are in charge of appearance. The same is required of heirs,(...) Read More
  • In probate, assets are properties that are bought and held under a particular individual's name. These properties are tied to no beneficiary and not co-owned with anybody. In the event of death, these assets are passed through a probate(...) Read More
  • An assignment of inheritance is a transfer of assets by way of a legal agreement from one person or entity to another. An assignment of inheritance can be the entire estate or just part, depending on what you and your loved ones want to(...) Read More
  • The act of witnessing the signing of a document by another, and the signing of the document as a witness on a will. A will is a valuable document that requires both the signature of its maker and two or more witnesses in order for it to be valid. Read More
  • An attestation clause is a legal term that describes the most important aspect of any will; A lot of people are yet to know this. However, they seem to have a better understanding when you explain the term.  Aside from a testator's(...) Read More
  • An attorney-in-fact is someone who has been given the power of attorney to act on behalf of another. That someone is acting as an attorney-in-fact doesn’t necessarily mean that they are authorized by the state law. He or she will act according(...) Read More

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