Helpful Terms

 

Administrator\Administratrix: A person appointed to the courts to distribute the estate of a person who died without a Will. (Known as Estate Trustee in some jurisdictions).

Beneficiary:
A person designated as the recipient of funds or other property under a Will.

Certificate of Appointment: The court order appointing someone to be the Estate Trustee.

Decedent: The deceased person.

Encroach: Paying out of money or assets held in trust to a beneficiary.

Estate File:
Contains all documents needed to grant Letters of Probate or Letters of Administration or Certificate of Appointment. This includes the petition for probate or administration, the original Will, oaths of executors or administrators, tally of assets, and related evidence.

Executor/Executrix:
Man or woman named in a Will to distribute the estate. (Known as Estate Trustee in some jurisdictions.)

Heir:
A person who inherits the property of a deceased person, as by descent, relationship, will, or legal process.

Intestate:
When a person dies without having written a Will.

Letters Probate:
Court grant confirming the Executor named in a Will. Includes the official transcript of the Will. Also known as Certificate of Appointment.

Life Interest: Benefits awarded by a will to be enjoyed only during the beneficiary’s life.

Succession Law Reform Act:
Ontario law permitting a spouse or child to obtain benefits from an estate if not provided for in the Will. Most jurisdictions have similar legislation.

Testate:
A person, or act, of dying with a Will.

Testator\Testatrix:
A Man or woman who writes a Will.

Will:
A testamentary document made before witnesses outlining the final wishes of the deceased. It might include later codicils (amendments). A Holograph will is a handwritten Will.