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LEGAL TERMS

TRUSTEE POWERS

The provisions in a trust document defining what the trustee may and may not do.

ADMINISTRATRIX

An outdated term for a female administrator -- the person appointed by a court to handle probate on behalf of someone who died without a will. Now, whether male... (more...)
An outdated term for a female administrator -- the person appointed by a court to handle probate on behalf of someone who died without a will. Now, whether male or female, this person is called the administrator.

DOWER AND CURTESY

A surviving spouse's right to receive a set portion of the deceased spouse's estate -- usually one-third to one-half. Dower (not to be confused with a 'dowry') ... (more...)
A surviving spouse's right to receive a set portion of the deceased spouse's estate -- usually one-third to one-half. Dower (not to be confused with a 'dowry') refers to the portion to which a surviving wife is entitled, while curtesy refers to what a man may claim. Until recently, these amounts differed in a number of states. However, because discrimination on the basis of sex is now illegal in most cases, most states have abolished dower and curtesy and generally provide the same benefits regardless of sex -- and this amount is often known simply as the statutory share. Under certain circumstances, a living spouse may not be able to sell or convey property that is subject to the other spouse's dower and curtesy or statutory share rights.

SWEARING MATCH

A case that turns on the word of one witness versus another. The outcome of a swearing match usually depends on whom the jury finds most trustworthy.

CONSERVATOR

Someone appointed by a judge to oversee the affairs of an incapacitated person. A conservator who manages financial affairs is often called a 'conservator of th... (more...)
Someone appointed by a judge to oversee the affairs of an incapacitated person. A conservator who manages financial affairs is often called a 'conservator of the estate.' One who takes care of personal matters, such as healthcare and living arrangements, is known as a 'conservator of the person.' Sometimes, one conservator is appointed to handle all these tasks. Depending on where you live, a conservator may also be called a guardian, committee or curator.

PREDECEASED SPOUSE

In the law of wills, a spouse who dies before the will maker while still married to him or her.

IN TERROREM

Latin meaning 'in fear.' This phrase is used to describe provisions in contracts or wills meant to scare a person into complying with the terms of the agreement... (more...)
Latin meaning 'in fear.' This phrase is used to describe provisions in contracts or wills meant to scare a person into complying with the terms of the agreement. For example, a will might state that an heir will forfeit her inheritance if she challenges the validity of the will. Of course, if the will is challenged and found to be invalid, then the clause itself is also invalid and the heir takes whatever she would have inherited if there were no will.

NET ESTATE

The value of all property owned at death less liabilities or debts.

GRANTOR

Someone who creates a trust. Also called a trustor or settlor.

SAMPLE LEGAL CASES

In re Guardianship of Spangler

... At one of those hearings, the probate court warned the mother: {¶ 3} "I'm going to give some consideration to appointing a guardian ad litem to go out and do investigation as to whether you're the most suitable guardians or not. ... Probate Court Is the Superior Guardian. ...

In re Guardianship of Santrucek

... See RC 2111.02 and 2109.21. She did however file a petition for appointment of a conservator in the probate court of Clinton County, Michigan. Under Michigan law, a conservator is responsible for management of a ward's property and other financial assets. ...

State ex rel. Mowen v. Mowen

... {¶ 3} In April 2005, the Clermont County Court of Common Pleas, Probate Division, ordered that Barbara be involuntarily hospitalized because it found probable cause that she was a mentally ill person subject to hospitalization by court order. ...