Easy to Understand List of Common Probate Terms including Estate Beneficiary, Administrator and More.
We understand that you may feel like there are a lot of confusing legal terms thrown around when talking about estate and trust matters. Our goal is to make the process simple and easy to understand. We love to educate our clients on the process and what is going on in their specific situation because we believe the best kind of client is a fully informed and educated client.
To that end, we have compiled a list of the most common legal terms used when discussing probate estate and trust matters. This list is designed for use as a quick reference to help you make sense of your situation. We hope you find it helpful.
Administrator: the person that is appointed by the Probate Court to represent the estate in the case that the deceased did not have a will.
Beneficiary: a person who is named in the will to receive property if the deceased had a valid will.
Creditor: individuals and companies to whom the deceased owed money at the time of death.
Estate Administration: the formal legal process of disseminating the property of the deceased to beneficiaries, creditors, and heirs.
Executor: the person who is named as executor in the will and appointed by the Probate Court to represent the estate in the case that the deceased had a will.
Heir: a person who would be eligible to inherit from the deceased under Georgia law if the deceased did not have a will.
Intestate: a person who dies without making a valid will.
Nominated Executor: the person that the will names as executor of the estate. That person is not actually the executor until he or she is permitted to qualify by order of the Probate Court and takes an oath.
Personal Representative: this term generally refers to an executor, administrator, or administrator CTA. A temporary administrator is not a Personal Representative.
Petitioner: the person that signs and files a petition with the Probate Court requesting the Court to do something, such as open an estate.
Probate: the formal legal process of proving to the probate court that a document is the legal last will and testament of the deceased. In common parlance, probate often refers to disseminating the property of the deceased to beneficiaries, creditors, and heirs – that process is more accurately called estate administration.
Testate: an estate where the deceased had a valid will, opposite of intestate.