When you serve as executor and probate an estate, there are many new responsibilities. Understanding these probate terms will make your job much easier.
Administrator the person who carries out the duties of the executor if the decedent died without a will
Bequest an old term used to describe personal property transferred in a will
Estate everything the decedent owned at death
Estate taxes taxes assessed at death based upon the value of the decedents estate
Executor the person who probates the decedents estate; the executor gathers, manages, and distributes estate property, pays last bills and taxes, and deals with the probate court.
Decedent the person who died
Devise an old term used to describe real estate transferred in a will
Inherit to receive property from a decedent
Intestate the decedent died without a will
Intestate succession the state dictated method for distributing the decedents assets if he died without a will.
Issue direct descendents of the decedent (i.e. children, grandchildren, and great grandchildren)
Letters of testamentary the document, issued by the probate court, which authorizes the executor to administer the estate (i.e. probate the estate)
Minor any person under the age of 18
Personal property all property other than real estate
Pour-over-will a will that is executed in conjunction with a revocable living trust. The only beneficiary of the will is the trust.
Pretermitted heir a child or the grandchild of a deceased child who is not named in the will. Most states presume that the decedent wanted to provide for all of his children, so if the child is not mentioned, he is entitled to receive his fair share.
Probate a court proceeding required to settle an estate wherein the court validates the decedents will, the executor is appointed, debts and taxes are paid, and assets are distributed to named beneficiaries.
If you have questions about serving as executor or probating an estate, consult with a qualified estate planning probate attorney.