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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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  • One of the more common terms in English is bequest or devise. It means a will, where an individual leaves his personal property to another person upon death - sometimes without any special condition attached (such as providing for children). Read More
  • A Legatee is a person named in a will to receive property. A legatee is another name for the more commonly used term beneficiary. A legatee is a person who gets a legacy in a literal way. A legatee is a person who receives a legacy, which(...) Read More
  • The court document that establishes the petitioner’s authority to act as personal representative (administrator). Letter Testamentary are issued to an executor. Under Intestacy Rules, a Surrogate Court or probate registry can issue Letters(...) Read More
  • A claim against someone’s property. A lien is instituted to secure payment from the property owner if the property is sold. A mortgage is a common lien. A creditor's security interest or legal right in one's personal property. In most(...) Read More
  • A person's ownership of real estate changes depending on the type they hold. If you only have a right to possession for your life, then it will pass onto someone else after yours. A life estate is a special type of co-ownership. The(...) Read More
  • A type of conservatorship for developmentally-disabled adults that can give them the opportunity to live their life on a more meaningful level. Limited Conservatorships are used to appoint an adult caretaker to look after an individual(...) Read More
  • A trust created during the maker’s lifetime. Some living trusts are set up so that they can be changed during the maker’s lifetime. These are called “revocable.” Others, known as “irrevocable,” are set up so that they cannot be(...) Read More
  • A document that states a person’s wishes regarding life-support or other medical treatment in certain circumstances, sometimes when death is imminent. Only in the event of a life-threatening illness and inability to express one's wishes for(...) Read More
  • A lodgment is a means of submitting documents to the court temporarily. When submitted with an Accounting, it can be used as supporting evidence for one-time hearings like divorce proceedings or tax returns that are too large and need filing(...) Read More
  • The Lanterman Petris-Short Act allows for the involuntary detention and treatment of a person who appears dangerous to themselves or others. This can happen when someone has been diagnosed with mental illness, which makes them seem like(...) Read More

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