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Estate Law: Terms

List of Terms and Definitions

TermDefinition
Beneficiary Those that 'benefit' and take from the will
Probate Asset anything held solely in an individual's name at the time of his death, such as a bank account.
Non-probate Assets become the property of the beneficiary immediately upon the death of the person who owned the asset.The existence of a will is irrelevant. Examples are Life INS policies with a beneficiary.
Devisee A person who takes real property. Real Property is property that can't be moved such as a home.
Legatee A person who takes personal property. Personal property is property that can be moved such as old used tissues.
Distributee Closest relatives. Generally, the only people who can object to a will.
Executor the person appointed to administer the estate of a person who has died leaving a will which nominates that person.
Intestate To die with no will. Distributiees take stuff
Testate Die with a will
Codicil A later amendment to a will
Issue a person's children or other lineal descendants such as grandchildren and great-grandchildren. It does not mean all heirs, but only the direct bloodline
Residuary Beneficiary The person identified in the will or trust who receives the "residue" of an estate, which is what is left after all debts and obligations of the decedent have been paid
Lifetime Trust or Inter Vivos Trust drafted to protect a beneficiary’s inheritance from his or her own poor decisions or spending habits. The creation of such a Trust will restrict the way the beneficiary can spend and utilize assets while helping to maintain a steady stream of income.
Trust Individuals may control the distribution of their property during their lives or after their deaths
Totton Trust AKA Payable on Death account,is a form of trust in which one party places money in a bank account or security with instructions that upon the settler's death, whatever is in that account will pass to a named beneficiary.
Specific Bequests a testamentary gift of a precisely identifiable object, distinguished from all other things of the same kind — such as, a gift of a particular piece of jewelry.
General Bequests is the act of giving (not the act of receiving) property by will.
Lapsed Bequest At common law, lapse occurs when the beneficiary or the devisee under the will predeceases the testator, invalidating the gift. The gift would instead revert to the residuary estate
Ademption If the testator does not own the object being bequeathed in the will, we can not give that object away.
Abatement when the equitable assets of a deceased person are not sufficient to satisfy fully all the creditors, their debts must abate proportionately. Nothing goes to the residuary.
Joint tenant Own it together (Like a mutually held bank account)
Joint Tenant with Right of Survivorship If you survive, you get the entire account (or objects.) The word AND indicated a right of survivor account.
Tenants in Common You only own half of the object or account. More than two can be tenants in common. 'OR' indicated tenants in common
Custodian Accounts Gifts to minors. Minors gain access at 21 unless specified otherwise.
Attestation Clause A statement stating you are in your right mind. Not required
Joint Wills Married couple draw one will. It is not a contract unless the will states that it is. For example, if Morgan dies, Fifi can write a new will at Morgan's death unless the original will says she can't
Nuncupative Will An oral will. Only valid if if done by a Mariner at sea or an officer/press corps official at battle. Two people still needed to witness oral will
Holographic Will A will that has errors. An example would be only having one witness.
4 in the Room Rule If you are having trouble destroying your own will, 4 people must be in the room.
Little Baby Rule If you destroy the codicil, the will stands
Big Daddy Rule Revocation of the will destroys codicil
Box Opening Order Court gives you permission to search for a will but not to manipulate or take belongings.
Waiver and Consent Distributiees sign these if they agree the will is valid
Citation if the ditributee refuse to sign a waiver they are issued a citation for court dates.
10/20/30 rule 10 days to respond to a citation if you are in the state. 20 days if our of state. 30 days if out of the country
Notice of Probate A notice sent to beneficiaries of a will who are not distributees
Decree This is is signed by the judge and omits the will to probate
Letters Also signed by the judge and names you executor of a will
Certificates Signed by the county clerk at a price of $6. Allows you to prove you are the executor to third parties
5 days rule (or 150 hours) If you are to be a beneficiary of the will, you must survive the dude who died by 5 days.
A testamentary Trust goes into effect upon an individual's death and is commonly used when someone wants to leave assets to a beneficiary, but doesn't want the beneficiary to receive those assets until a specified time. A trustee is named to manage the account/money
Life Estates Owner pays the mortgage. Life tenant can live in the house till death. Life tenant must pay taxes and repairs.
Passage of Title to Real Estate At the moment of death, real estate is owned by somebody. o If there is no will, it’s owned by your distributees. When the will is probated it acts like a deed.
Created by: Pyelneh15