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Words used in Probate Court
and their meanings

 
Accountings - Reports that contain the annual and final fiscal reports showing what has come into the account and the disbursements that have gone out of the account.
 
Affidavit of Collection - A way to handle the assets under $10,000 and it cannot include any real estate.
 
Beneficiary - A person or charity or dog or cat that receives assets that were pre-directed to the individual.
 
Bond - What the Personal Representative must purchase from an insurance company if there was not a Will or if someone demands it. The Personal Representative must purchase a bond for one and one half times the amount of the personal property only.
 
Certified - Attested true copy of a document from our Court with seal. Cannot certify any document that does not originate from our Court.
 
Conservator - One who takes care of the finances of a minor or incapacitated person.
 
Decedent - The person who died.
 
Devisee - Someone who is named in a Will to receive.
 
DOD - Deed of Distribution (Transfers real estate to the legal heirs or devisees).
 
Domiciled - Where the person lived.
 
Encumbrances - Debt of the estate that is attached to an asset. Example: Mortgage on a house, loan on a car, etc. (NOT everyday debt like doctor bills, credit card payments, etc.)
 
Estate Papers - The original probate papers such as Wills, inventories, letters, accountings and related papers.
 
Guardian - One who takes care of the physical well being of a minor or incapacitated person.
 
Health Care Power of Attorney - A legal document that allows another party to handle the health decisions of another person.
 
Heir - Someone who takes from an estate if there is not a Will.
 
I/A - Inventory and Appraisement (Yellow Form) - Listing of the assets (both probate and non-probate) that the decedent had in his/her name at time of death and date of death values.
 
Intestate - When someone dies without a Will.
 
In Trust - When someone directs assets to be set aside for a persons benefit.
 
Living Will - A legal document that allows a party to make medical decisions about another person's continuation of life prior to death.
 
Non-Probate Assets - Assets that are not used by the Personal Representative to pay debt of the estate or to distribute to heirs or devisees. These assets usually have a beneficiary, payable on death, or joint right of survivorship status.
 
Power of Attorney - A legal document that allows another party to handle the business affairs of someone else.
 
PR - Personal Representative (Person in charge of the estate) Use to be called executor or executrix.
 
Probate - The legal process of wrapping up a person's affairs, paying their bills distributing their assets after death.
 
Probate Assets - Assets that are used by the Personal Representative to pay debt of the estate or to distribute to heirs or devisees. These assets do not automatically go to another party at time of death.
 
Pro Se - Someone who defends himself without an attorney.
 
RTSC - Rule To Show Cause - being summoned to court to tell the Judge why you have not complied with the duties of Personal Representative.
 
Rule 4 - Administratively closing an estate by Court order.
 
Special Administrator - A person chosen to take the place of a personal representative to handle the affairs of the estate. This person is usually an attorney.
 
Testate - When someone dies with a legally valid Will before death.
 
Venue - Where someone lives.
 
Will - A legal document that states the wishes of a person at the time of his/her death.
 
Will Books - Recorded transcripts of original probate Wills that give information about proving the Will and qualifying the personal representative.
 
Will For Record - When a party files an original Will with the Court after someone dies and there are no assets to transfer.

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