A person or institution appointed by a court to act on behalf of the deceased person in connection with the administration of a decedent's estate.

Administrator with Will Annexed (for Administrator CTA):

An administrator appointed by a court to act on behalf of the deceased person who left a will, but where no nominated executor is willing and able to act.


The individual or corporation who receives the benefit of a transaction (e.g., beneficiary of a life insurance policy, beneficiary of a trust, or beneficiary under a will.)


The individual or corporation who legally has charge of the care and management of the person, property, or both of an adult who is unable to provide for his own personal needs or who is substantially unable to manage his financial affairs. Limited conservatorships may be established for developmentally disabled adults.

Contingent Beneficiary: 

One to whom distribution is dependent upon the occurrence of an event.

Devisees and Legatees:

Persons named by a decedent in his will. A bequest or devise generally refers to real property and a legacy of money or personal property.


The term which describes the reversion of property to the state in the event a person dies leaving no valid will and no heirs at law surviving him.


The individual or corporation appointed in a will by a testator to take care of the testator's property after his death. Also called a personal representative.

Ex Parte:

A judicial proceeding granted without notice.


A person charged with a high degree of care who acts on behalf of another. Executors and trustees are fiduciaries.


The individual or corporation who legally has charge of the care and management of the person, property, or both, of a child during his minority.


The person who inherits property under state law.

Inheritance Taxes:

The taxes imposed, according to the relationship to the decedent, on the person who receives the property.

Irrevocable Trust:

A trust whose terms and provisions cannot be changed, modified, altered, amended, or revoked.

Joint Tenancy:

A form of property ownership by two or more persons, often designated as "joint tenants with right of survivorship." Joint tenants always own equal parts of joint tenancy property. When a joint tenant dies, his or her interest in the property automatically goes to the surviving joint tenant.

Life Estate: 

An interest in property, the term of which is measured by the life of its owner.

Personal Representative:

This term describes an executor or administrator.

Power of Appointment:

The actual power of legal authority given by the trust or will of one person, the "donor" of the power, to a second person, the "done" of the power, which enables the second person to designate the manner of disposing of the property.

Pour-over will:

A will that provides for the transfer, after or during the probate court proceedings, of all or part of the net assets of a decedent's probate estate from the executor's control to the control of a trustee who is in charge of a trust that was in existence immediately before the death of the deceased person (inter vivos trust).

Probate Administration: 

The legal process whereby a probate court supervises the marshalling of a deceased person's debts and taxes and orders the property distributed according to decedent's will, or in its absence, to the deceased person's heirs. The probate court has jurisdiction over the personal representative and the decedent's assets.

Real Property:

An interest in land or property permanently affixed to land. 

Revocable Trust:

A trust whose terms and provisions can be changed, modified, altered, amended, or revoked.


Another word for grantor or trustor of a trust. The person who ''settles" the assets into the trust.

Tenancy In Common:

A form of holding title to real or personal property by two or more persons. Because there -is no right of survivorship, the legal relationships and results are very different from joint tenancy. Tenants in common need not hold equal interest, and on the death of a tenant in common, his interest will pass by his will or according to the laws of intestate succession.


Refers to someone who dies leaving a will.


A legal entity established either during a trustor's lifetime (inter vivos) or at his death (testamentary). The trust is governed by the terms set forth in the trust documents. A trust must have a trustee, a beneficiary, and a "corpus" or property subjected to the trust.


The individual or corporation who in a trust has bare legal title to the assets and has the power given in the trust to carry out the wishes of the person or persons (trustor or trustors) who created the trust . The trustee has a fiduciary obligation to the trust's beneficiaries enforceable in court if not carried out. The trustee is subject to strict regulation. Although he has legal title for convenience, the beneficial or equitable title is in fact owned by the beneficiaries. When there is more than one trustee, the trustees are called co-trustees.


The person or persons who establish a trust. There can be more than one trustor.

Probate Services

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