Did you know that only 40% of Americans have a will, and even with a will probate may still be a necessity. 

Navigating through the probate process can be a challenge, especially if you’re unfamiliar with the terminology. 

Are you going through probate? We’re here to help! Read on to learn the probate definitions you need to know. 

What is Probate?

Probate is the process of proving that a will is valid and then administering the deceased person’s estate. The first step is to appoint a person that will administer the estate. If no one is named, the probate court will appoint someone for you.

Next, the will has to be proven to be valid. Exactly how depends on state law. Check out Georgia’s laws here.

Then, all property of the deceased is identified, inventoried, and appraised. All debts or taxes are paid off. Finally, the assets that remain are distributed based on their will.

Probate Definitions You Need to Know

Are you currently going through the process of probate but feel a little lost? Here, we’ve translated some complex legalese so that you can learn some of the probate definitions you need to know.

  • Administrator: The individual appointed by the court to represent the estate if the deceased didn’t have a valid will.
  • Beneficiary: The individual who will receive property according to the will.
  • Creditor: People or companies the deceased owed money to at the time of their death.
  • Decedent: This is another term for the deceased.
  • Deed: The legal document confirming ownership of a property or that transfers ownership of a property.
  • Estate: Property the deceased owned at the time of their death.
  • Executor: This is the person named by the will-maker to carry out the will’s instructions.
  • Fiduciary: This person is in a position of trust about another’s property (for example, the executor).
  • Heir at Law: This is the person who would inherit the property if someone was to die without a will (typically a spouse or relative).
  • Intestate: This is the term for someone who died without leaving a will. Find out more here.
  • Inventory: This is the list of assets owned by someone when they died as well as their value.
  • Letter of Testamentary: This is a legal document that appoints the executor or administrator of the estate and permits them to do so.
  • Personal Representative: This is another term that means the individual the court has appointed to settle the estate of the deceased (or, executor).
  • Qualification: This is the process by which the executor or administrator is appointed.
  • Testate: This is someone who died with a will.
  • Testator: They make the will.
  • Trust: This is a document that allows a trustee to manage assets on behalf of the beneficiaries.
  • Will: This is a document that directs the management and distribution of their estate after they die.

Need Help with Your Probate Case? Call Brian M. Douglas & Associates Today!

Probate law can be difficult even when you know all the probate definitions. That’s why at Brian M. Douglas & Associates we strive to make the process as simple as possible.

Interested in learning more? Call (770) 933-9009 for a consultation and learn how we can make your probate situation easier.