You may encounter hard-to-understand legal terms as you go through the probate process.
The following is a list of terms and definitions:
- Administrator/Administratrix – Person appointed by the courts to take charge of the estate of a decedent who dies without a will.
- Beneficiary – Person designated to receive money, property or benefits in a will.
- Bequest – A gift of personal property by a will.
- Bequeath – To dispose of personal property through a will.
- Codicil – An addition or supplement to an original will that adds to or deletes only part of a will.
- Decedent – A deceased person.
- Devise – A gift of real estate through a will.
- Escheat – Property reverting to the state for want of any legal heir.
- Estate – Property and possessions owned by an individual.
- Executor/Executrix – Person named in a will to carry out the wishes and intentions of the will.
- Guardian – Person entrusted by the law with the personal and/or fiduciary care of another.
- Heir – Person who inherits property from a deceased person through a blood relationship, including legal adoptions.
- Intestate – When a person dies without a will.
- Legatee – Person who receives a gift under a will.
- Personal property – Intangible property, such as stock, bonds or bank accounts and tangible property such as jewelry, furniture or an automobile
- Probate – Official proof of the authenticity or validity of a will.
- Real Property – Land or building.
- Surrogate – Elected county official who oversees probate in the State of New Jersey.
- Testator/testatrix – Person who makes a will.
- Trust – Property owned or managed by a person for another.
- Trustee – Person holding property in trust for another.
- Will – A legal declaration of the manner in which a person wishes his or her estate to be distributed after death.
- Witness – Person who observes the signing of a document and attests to the signatures.