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LEGAL TERMS

BEQUEATH

A legal term sometimes used in wills that means 'leave' -- for example, 'I bequeath my garden tools to my brother-in-law, Buster Jenkins.'

CERTIFICATION OF TRUST

See abstract of trust.

PER STIRPES

Under a will, a method of determining who inherits property when a joint beneficiary has died before the willmaker, leaving living children of his or her own. F... (more...)
Under a will, a method of determining who inherits property when a joint beneficiary has died before the willmaker, leaving living children of his or her own. For example, Fred leaves his house jointly to his son Alan and his daughter Julie. But Alan dies before Fred, leaving two young children. If Fred's will states that heirs of a deceased beneficiary are to receive the property 'per stirpes,' Julie will receive one-half of the property, and Alan's two children will share his half in equal shares (through Alan by right of representation). If, on the other hand, Fred's will states that the property is to be divided per capita, Julie and the two grandchildren will each take a third.

ABSTRACT OF TRUST

A condensed version of a living trust document, which leaves out details of what is in the trust and the identity of the beneficiaries. You can show an abstract... (more...)
A condensed version of a living trust document, which leaves out details of what is in the trust and the identity of the beneficiaries. You can show an abstract of trust to a financial organization or other institution to prove that you have established a valid living trust, without revealing specifics that you want to keep private. In some states, this document is called a 'certification of trust.'

LETTERS TESTAMENTARY

The document given to an executor by the probate court, authorizing the executor to settle the estate according to either a will or the state's intestate succes... (more...)
The document given to an executor by the probate court, authorizing the executor to settle the estate according to either a will or the state's intestate succession laws.

LAPSE

Under a will, the failure of a gift of property. A gift lapses when the beneficiary dies before the person who made the will, and no alternate has been named. S... (more...)
Under a will, the failure of a gift of property. A gift lapses when the beneficiary dies before the person who made the will, and no alternate has been named. Some states have anti-lapse statutes, which prevent gifts to relatives of the deceased person from lapsing unless the relative has no heirs of his or her own. A lapsed gift becomes part of the residuary estate.

DEVISEE

A person or entity who inherits real estate under the terms of a will.

KINDRED

Under some state's probate codes, all relatives of a deceased person.

PREDECEASED SPOUSE

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

SAMPLE LEGAL CASES

Russell v. Gaither

... On February 3, 2006, Gaither filed with the Register of Wills for Baltimore City a petition for probate based on the July 12, 2005 will, which was admitted to administrative probate. Nearly six months later, on July 26th, Marquitta ...

Attorney Grievance Commission of Maryland v. PLESHAW

... In 1997, the Probate Division of the Superior Court of the District of Columbia ("probate court") appointed Pleshaw to represent Joseph Riley in an intervention proceeding and later the Riley Estate itself. ... A. Maryland Cases Confronting Misappropriation in a Probate Context. ...

Attorney Grievance v. PLESHAW

... In 1997, the Probate Division of the Superior Court of the District of Columbia ("probate court") appointed Pleshaw to represent Joseph Riley in an intervention proceeding and later the Riley Estate itself. ... A. Maryland Cases Confronting Misappropriation in a Probate Context. ...