Probate Glossary


Probate Broadly, a characterization of the functions of the Probate Court, whether it be the probate of a will, the approval of the accounts of an administrator of a decedent s estate, or any other judicial act within the province of the Court, including guardianships, conservator-ships, and the like.
Will A written declaration of a person's wishes concerning the distribution of property standing in his or her name after death, executed in accordance with specific legal procedures.
Codicil An amendment or addition to a will.
Testate Referring to the estate of a deceased person who leaves a will at death.
Intestate Referring to the estate of a deceased person who dies without leaving a will.
Fiduciary One who holds property in a position of trust for another, such as an executor, administrator, trustee, guardian, or conservator.
Executor A person named in a will to manage and settle an estate and to carry out the directions and mandates of the decedent.
Administrator A person who has been named by the Probate Court to administer and settle the estate of a decedent who dies without leaving a will. The estate will be settled in accordance with the laws of descent and distribution, which are also known as the laws of intestacy.
Trust Property, real or personal, held by one party for the benefit of another.
Guardian A person given the power and duty by a Probate Court for managing the property or providing for the care of the person of a minor child or a person with intellectual disabilities.
Conservator A person named by the Probate Court to supervise the affairs of another person who is incapable or who needs assistance in managing his or her affairs or caring for himself or herself.
Probate Bond A promise by a fiduciary, usually guaranteed by a third party, called a surety, to replace any funds up to the amount of the bond to fulfill the faithful performance of his or her duties.  Often, the surety is an insurance company.
Real Property Real estate such as a home, land, or farm, including the ownership of a condominium unit.
Personal Property Property not classified as real property, such as bank accounts, shares of corporate stock, bonds, automobiles, household furnishings and personal effects.