Terms And Definitions Relevant To Your Will
The administrator is that person appointed by the probate court and qualified
to administer an estate of someone who has died without a will.
The beneficiaries of a will are those designated to take an interest in real or
personal property. The beneficiary may be a person or a trust.
A codicil is an amendment or a republication of a will. If you change your mind
regarding a specific gift or selection of executor, for example, you may write
a codicil to your will rather than writing the entire will again. A codicil
requires the same execution formalities as your will.
The lineal descendants of an individual include those who are born or adopted
by the decedent.
Your estate is all that property, personal and real, in which you have an
interest. It includes everything you own, from tangible property such as
jewelry, cars, land, and buildings to intangible holdings such as stocks,
bonds, and insurance proceeds.
The executor of a will is the person nominated in a will who has qualified to
administer a testate estate. The executor disposes of the property according to
the provisions in the will and the directions and requests made by the
A guardian represents someone to a probate court proceeding. Usually, a
guardian is appointed to represent minors or incompetents. In a will, a
guardian may be selected to care for minor children.
Heirs are those individuals who survive the decedent and are determined under
the rules of inheritance to take the property of the decedent if the decedent
died without a will. (If a will was in place, those receiving property are
called beneficiaries.) Each state has different rules of inheritance
determining who shall receive property from the decedent's estate. See If you Die Without A Will, (click here).
When a will is probated, it is proven to a court with jurisdiction, that the
will presented is valid. Each state has certain procedures to probate a will.
The executor appointed in a will (or the administrator if there was no will) is
responsible for probating the will.
The testator is one who makes a will, and dies with a will.
There are many forms of trusts. Generally, a trust is a right of property, real
or personal, held by one party for the benefit of another.
That person appointed to execute a trust. The trustee is selected to manage the
trust property for the benefit of another.
This is the legal declaration of an individual's testamentary intention
regarding property or other matters. The will includes all codicils.