Glossary

TermDefinition
Acceptance of Duties and Letters TestamentaryThis refers to the individuals who are the direct bloodline or offspring of the deceased person, including children, grandchildren, and so on.
AccountingIt is the detailed and transparent record-keeping and reporting of all financial transactions and distributions related to administrating a deceased person’s estate.
AffidavitAn affidavit is a sworn written statement signed by someone who knows the will’s creation and the testator’s intentions. It is a formal declaration affirming the will’s authenticity, often used as evidence during the probate process to confirm the document’s legality and the testator’s capacity and intent.
Affidavit for Collection of Personal PropertyIt is a legal document that allows an heir or beneficiary to claim and collect certain personal property of a deceased person without formal probate proceedings.
Alaska Community PropertyIt typically grants each spouse the right to bequeath their one-half share of community property to beneficiaries of their choice, with the other half passing to the surviving spouse.
Alaska Community Property ActThe Alaska Community Property Act is a legal provision that allows married couples in Alaska to hold property acquired during their marriage as community property.
Alaska Permanent Fund DividendIt is a separate program in Alaska where eligible residents receive a yearly dividend payment from the earnings of the state’s Permanent Fund.
Alaska Uniform Probate CodeIt is the formal evaluation and assessment of the assets and property value mentioned in the will for estate administration and distribution.
AllowanceThese are specific provisions made within the will to allocate certain assets or benefits to designated individuals or entities.
Ancillary AdministrationAllowances
This set of state laws governs the probate process. It provides a legal framework for the orderly handling a deceased person’s estate.
ApplicationIt is a formal written request or petition submitted to a court by an interested party, such as an executor or beneficiary, seeking approval or action related to the administration or distribution of the assets and provisions outlined in the will.
AppraisalThis is the act of transferring one’s rights or interests in a bequest or inheritance to another person, typically through a formal legal document, such as an appendix or assignment of benefits.
AssignmentIt refers to the secondary probate process in a different jurisdiction when a deceased person owned assets in that jurisdiction but had their primary probate in another.
Beneficiary (Trust)
A beneficiary is an individual or entity designated to receive assets, property, or benefits from a trust established within the will upon the testator’s death.
Beneficiary (Will)This is transferring one’s rights or interests in a bequest or inheritance to another person, typically through a formal legal document, such as an appendix or assignment of benefits.
Bill of SaleA bill of sale is a legal document that transfers the ownership of specific personal property from the deceased person to a named beneficiary.
BondThis is a financial guarantee or surety required by the court to ensure that the executor of the will properly manages the estate and fulfills their duties.
Broker’s Opinion of ValueThis refers to a professional assessment a real estate broker or appraiser provides regarding the estimated monetary worth of a property specified in the will.
ChildA child is a human offspring, typically a person under the age of legal adulthood, often defined as someone under 18 years of age. The term can also refer to an individual’s biological or legally adopted offspring.
ClaimIt is a statement or assertion made by someone, often requesting something they believe they are entitled to, such as compensation, rights, benefits, or recognition.
ClaimantIt is a statement or assertion someone makes, often requesting something they believe they are entitled to, such as compensation, rights, benefits, or recognition.
CodicilA codicil is a legal document used to make amendments or additions to an existing will. It allows a testator to modify specific provisions or add new instructions to their will.
Community PropertyIt is property and assets acquired by a married couple during their marriage that is typically subject to equal division between spouses upon the death of one spouse unless specified otherwise in a valid will or agreement.
ConservatorIt refers to a person appointed by the court to manage the financial and personal affairs of an individual deemed incapable of making decisions.
Co-Personal RepresentativeThis is an individual appointed alongside another person to jointly administer and execute the provisions of the deceased person’s will.
CreditorA creditor is a person or entity to whom the deceased individual owed a debt or obligation, and they may have a legal claim to collect that debt from the assets of the deceased person’s estate.
Creditor ClaimIt refers to a formal request made by a person or entity asserting a right to collect a debt owed by the deceased individual’s estate.
Court CaptionIt is a formal heading or title of a legal document filed with the court that identifies the court’s name, jurisdiction, case number, and the parties involved in a probate or will-related matter.
CustodianA custodian refers to an individual or institution designated to safeguard and manage the physical document or a copy of the will after the testator’s death.
CaseIt’s a specific legal matter or lawsuit involving the interpretation, validity, or administration of a will, typically brought before a court for resolution
Death CertificateThis legal document formally transfers a deceased person’s assets and property to the designated beneficiaries as outlined in the deceased’s will.
DescendantsIt’s a specific legal matter or lawsuit involving a will’s interpretation, validity, or administration, typically brought before a court for resolution.
DeedThis official document issued by a government authority that certifies the date, time, and cause of an individual’s death is often required in the probate process to validate a will.
Deed of DistributionThis legal document allows a trustee to manage and distribute assets or property on behalf of a beneficiary according to the terms specified in the will.
Deed of TrustIt’s a specific legal matter or lawsuit involving a will’s interpretation, validity, or administration, typically brought before a court for resolution.
Demand for Notice, P-305 It’s a formal request made by a beneficiary or interested party in a trust to be informed and provided with official updates regarding the execution or probate of a will.
DecedentA “devisee” means a person designated in a will to receive a devise, defined as “a testamentary disposition of real or personal property.”
DeviseeA disclaimer is when the recipient (the “donee”) refuses a bequest. For example, the donee refuses an inheritance left in a will or trust, 
DisclaimerA disclaimer is when the recipient (called the “donee”) refuses a bequest. For example, the donee refuses an inheritance left in a will or trust, 
DiscoveryThis is the process by which parties are involved in a legal case, including its contents and the circumstances surrounding its creation.
Domiciliary Foreign Personal RepresentativeThis refers to an individual or entity appointed to administer the estate of a deceased person who had their primary residence in a foreign jurisdiction.
DistributionIt is the allocation and transfer of assets, property, or funds from the estate of a deceased individual to their designated beneficiaries or heirs as stipulated in the last will and testament.
Employer Identification Number (EIN)This is a unique nine-digit numerical identifier issued by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) to legally recognized entities.
Elective ShareIt is the statutory entitlement granted to a surviving spouse to claim a predetermined portion of the deceased spouse’s estate.
EncumbranceThis is a legal claim, lien, or restriction imposed on a specific asset or property that may affect its transfer or distribution as outlined in the will.
EstateIt’s the total assets, property, and liabilities left behind by a deceased individual, subject to distribution according to the terms and instructions outlined in the decedent’s last will and testament.
Exempt PropertyIt refers to assets or possessions of a decedent that are statutorily protected from being included in the probate estate and subjected to distribution among the beneficiaries.
Estate Tax ReturnIt’s a statutory provision that grants a surviving spouse or, in some jurisdictions, minor children a designated portion of the decedent’s estate.
Fair Market ValueIt refers to the legally recognized standard by which the worth of an asset or property is determined.
Family AllowanceIt’s a statutory provision that grants a specific sum of money from the deceased’s estate to provide for the immediate needs and support of the decedent’s surviving spouse and minor children.
Federal Estate TaxIt refers to a tax levied by the United States government on the transfer of a deceased person’s estate.
FiduciaryThis refers to a person or entity entrusted with the legal duty to act in the best interests of the beneficiaries, managing and distributing assets and executing the terms of the will in accordance with applicable laws and regulations.
Formal ProbateIt is the judicial process through which a court validates the authenticity of a deceased individual’s last will and testament.
General GiftThis is a bequest of assets or property that does not specify a particular source or item within a specific category.
GiftThis is the transfer of personal property or assets to a designated beneficiary upon the testator’s death, as specified in the testator’s last will and testament.
GuardianThis is an individual appointed by the testator to assume legal responsibility for the care and well-being of minor children or incapacitated individuals.
Guardian Ad LitemIt refers to a court-appointed individual who acts as a legal representative to safeguard the interests of minor or incapacitated beneficiaries.
HeirThis is a formal notice or communication typically issued by an executor or administrator of a deceased person’s estate.
Homestead AllowanceAn heir is an individual designated to inherit a deceased person’s assets and property according to the terms and provisions specified in the decedent’s will.
Holographic WillA holographic will is a testamentary document entirely handwritten and signed by the testator.
Informal ProbateInformal Probate refers to a legal process for validating a will that does not involve a formal court hearing.
Information to Heirs and DeviseesThis is an individual or entity that has a direct financial or legal stake in the distribution of assets or the administration of the estate as a beneficiary, heir, creditor, or executor.
InsolventThis refers to an individual whose debts and liabilities exceed the total value of their assets and estate, rendering them incapable of fully satisfying the bequests and legacies.
Interested PersonA minor refers to an individual who has not reached the age of majority, typically under 18 years old and is therefore not considered a legal adult, with limited rights and responsibilities.
IntestateIntestate refers to dying without a legal will. When a person dies intestate, deciding how their assets will be distributed becomes the responsibility of a state probate court.
Inventory of AssetsAn inventory of assets in a will is a comprehensive list of all the properties, belongings, and financial holdings owned by the deceased person at the time of their death.
Jury TrialA jury trial, or trial by jury, is a legal proceeding in which a jury makes a decision or findings of fact.
LawyerA lawyer is a licensed professional who provides legal advice, representation, and advocacy to clients in legal matters.
Letters of AdministrationLetters of Administration are legal documents issued by a court to appoint an individual or entity as the administrator of the estate of a deceased person who did not leave a valid will.
Letters Testamentary Letters Testamentary are legal documents issued by a court to the executor of a deceased person’s will.
LitigationLitigation refers to the process of resolving disputes or legal conflicts between parties through the formal legal system.
MediationMediation is a legal process in which a neutral third party, the mediator, assists disputing parties in reaching a voluntary and mutually acceptable resolution to their dispute.
MinorA minor refers to an individual who has not reached the age of majority, typically under 18 years old, and is therefore not considered a legal adult, with limited rights and responsibilities.
MortgageA mortgage is a legal agreement in which a borrower pledges real property as collateral to secure a loan.
Native StockNative stock refers to shares of a company that are originally issued and owned by individuals or entities within the country or jurisdiction where the company is incorporated.
Non-probate propertyNon-probate property refers to assets and belongings that are not subject to the probate process upon the owner’s death.
NoticeThis is a formal communication or written announcement that informs a party of their rights, obligations, or impending legal action.
Notice of DisallowanceA Notice of Disallowance is a formal legal notification issued by a government agency or entity to inform a party that their claim, request, or application has been rejected or denied.
Notice to CreditorsIt is a formal written communication, mandated by law, issued by the executor or administrator of an estate to inform potential creditors of the deceased person’s passing and the commencement of the probate process.
Order Starting Formal Probate and Appointing a Personal RepresentativeIt is a legal decree issued by the probate court formally commencing the probate process, validating the will, and designating an individual as the personal representative to administer the estate.
PartiesThese are the people or entities who make the will and those who stand to inherit from it.
Payable on Death (POD) BeneficiaryThis is an individual or entity designated to receive specific assets directly upon the decedent’s death, bypassing the probate process and following the terms stipulated by the decedent within the will.
Personal PropertyThese are the movable assets and belongings owned by an individual during their lifetime, such as furniture, vehicles, cash, jewelry, and other tangible items.
PetitionThis is a formal written request submitted to the appropriate court, typically by an interested party, seeking validation and acceptance of the will for probate proceedings.
Personal RepresentativeIt refers to an individual or entity appointed by the testator to administer and manage the distribution of assets and settle the estate affairs according to the provisions outlined in the will.
PledgeThis is the act of designating or offering specific assets or property as security or guarantee for fulfilling obligations or conditions outlined within the will.
Pourover Will
This is a testamentary document in which a testator designates their estate as the beneficiary, effectively pouring over any assets not placed into a trust during their lifetime into the specified trust.
ProbateThis is the court-supervised process of validating and executing a deceased individual’s will, ensuring its legality, authenticity, and proper distribution of assets as outlined in the will or under applicable laws in cases of intestacy.
Probate PropertyProbate property refers to assets, real or personal, that are subject to the legal process of probate upon a person’s death, as specified by their will or intestacy laws.
PropertyProperty is any assets, belongings, or rights owned or controlled by a person that can be bequeathed or transferred to beneficiaries through a will upon their demise.
Protective Proceeding
A Protective proceeding is a court-sanctioned action initiated to safeguard the interests of an individual deemed to lack the capacity to manage their affairs or to protect the validity and integrity of the will in question.
Quitclaim DeedThis is a legal instrument used to transfer an individual’s interest or claim in real property to another party without providing any guarantees or warranties regarding the title.
Real PropertyThis includes immovable assets such as land, buildings, and permanent fixtures attached to land, which may be bequeathed or passed down through a will.
Receipt and ReleaseIt acts as a formal acknowledgment of the beneficiary’s satisfaction with the distribution and an agreement not to make additional claims against the estate.
Request to Close Formal Probate and Approve DistributionThis is a formal petition submitted to the probate court, seeking authorization to conclude the probate process, finalize estate distribution according to the terms of the will, and obtain court approval.
Request to Start Formal Probate and Appoint a Personal RepresentativeIt is a legal petition filed with the probate court seeking initiation of the formal probate process and the appointment of an individual.
Request to Start Informal Probate and Appoint a Personal RepresentativeThis refers to a formal petition filed with the appropriate court by an interested party or petitioner seeking authorization to initiate the informal probate process.
RepresentationThis is the legal act of a beneficiary inheriting a deceased beneficiary’s share, as specified in the will.
Residuary GiftThis portion of the deceased’s estate is bequeathed to beneficiaries after specific bequests and debts have been settled, constituting the remainder of the estate.
Restricted PropertyThis refers to assets or real property subject to specific conditions or limitations imposed by the testator.
Revocable TrustThis is a trust established during an individual’s lifetime, allowing them to retain control over their assets, designate beneficiaries, and make modifications or revoke the trust at their discretion.
Right of SurvivorshipIt’s the legal principle wherein a surviving co-owner or beneficiary automatically inherits the share or interest of a deceased co-owner or testator, as stipulated in the will, without it passing through probate.
RolloverIt involves the orderly transition of estate assets to specified beneficiaries per the decedent’s testamentary directives.
Secured CreditorIt’s a party or entity holding a legally recognized claim against the deceased’s estate, backed by a specific asset (e.g., property or vehicle) as collateral.
Self-Proving WillA self-proving will is a testamentary document accompanied by sworn statements of witnesses and the testator, affirming the will’s authenticity and validity.
SettlorA settlor is an individual who establishes and funds a trust through a legally valid document, often referred to as a trust instrument, to manage and distribute assets to beneficiaries.
Small EstateAn estate with a relatively modest value, typically subject to simplified probate procedures, often involving an expedited process for distributing assets to heirs.
Specific giftThis is a legacy that precisely designates a particular item, property, or asset to a specific beneficiary, outlining the distinct nature of the gift.
Statement Starting Informal Probate and Appointing a Personal RepresentativeThis is a formal declaration initiated by a petitioner or interested party seeking the establishment of informal probate proceedings for a deceased individual’s estate.
Stock WillIt is a standardized, pre-drafted testamentary document that includes general provisions for the distribution of a testator’s estate.
SuccessorA successor refers to an individual or entity designated to receive or manage the deceased person’s assets, rights, or responsibilities.
Successor Personal RepresentativeAn individual or entity is appointed to act as an executor or administrator of the estate if the initially designated personal representative is unable or unwilling to fulfill their duties.
Successor TrusteeThis is an individual or entity designated to assume the role of trustee and administer the trust’s affairs upon the incapacity, resignation, or passing of the initially appointed trustee.
Supervised AdministrationThis is a probate process where the court closely oversees the executor’s actions, ensuring compliance with legal requirements and providing additional scrutiny in the administration and distribution of the estate assets.
Supplementary InventoryA Supplementary Inventory supplements the initial estate inventory, detailing previously undisclosed assets and properties related to the deceased individual.
Surety This a person or entity that guarantees the proper execution of the deceased’s wishes and the lawful distribution of assets outlined in the will, often taking responsibility for any breaches or failures in fulfilling these obligations.
Surviving SpouseThis the husband or wife who outlives the deceased person and is entitled to inherit the deceased’s estate or a portion thereof as stipulated in the will or according to state laws if there is no will.
Sworn StatementIt is a document that recites facts pertinent to a legal proceeding. It is very similar to an affidavit but is not witnessed and sealed by an official such as a notary public.
Tangible Personal PropertyThese are physical assets such as furniture, vehicles, jewelry, and other palpable possessions that can be bequeathed to specific individuals or entities as part of an estate plan.
Tangible Personal Property MemorandumThis supplementary document is legally incorporated by reference into a will, allowing the testator to specify the distribution of tangible personal property.
Tax BasisIt the fair market value of assets inherited by a beneficiary at the time of the decedent’s death.
Temporary Property CustodianThis refers to an individual appointed temporarily to oversee and manage the deceased person’s assets and property until a permanent executor or administrator is duly appointed and assumes responsibility for the estate.
Tenants By the EntiretyTenants by the Entirety pertains to property ownership that supersedes testamentary disposition, ensuring automatic transfer to the surviving spouse upon the other spouse’s demise.
Tenants In CommonThis is an individual who owns a property together, with each having a distinct and undivided share.
TestateIt is the state or condition of a person at the time of their death, having left a valid will outlining the distribution of their assets and specifying their wishes for the disposition of their estate.
Testamentary TrustA testamentary trust is a legal entity established through a person’s will, whereby assets and property are placed into trust upon the testator’s death.
TestatorA testator is an individual who has legally executed a will, outlining their intentions and instructions for distributing their assets upon their death.
Transfer on Death DeedA testator is an individual who legally executed a will, outlining their intentions and instructions for distributing their assets upon death.
TrustA trust is a fiduciary arrangement where a designated trustee holds and manages assets on behalf of beneficiaries according to the terms specified in the will or trust document.
TrusteeA trustee is an individual or entity appointed by the testator to manage and administer the assets and property specified in the will to benefit the named beneficiaries.
Uniform Transfer to Minors Act (“UTMA”)
This legal framework allows for gifting assets to a minor through a custodian, as specified in a will or other legal documents until the minor reaches a designated age at which they gain control over the assets.
VenueThis is the specific geographic location or jurisdiction, usually a county or district, where a legal case or proceeding.
VerificationIt is the process of confirming the document’s authenticity, validity, and legitimacy.
Warranty DeedThis is a formal legal document that conveys ownership of real property with a guarantee from the grantor that the title is clear and free from encumbrances.
WillThis formal legal document conveys ownership of real property with a guarantee from the grantor that the title is clear and free from encumbrances.