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LEGAL TERMS

PREDECEASED SPOUSE

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

DISINHERIT

To deliberately prevent someone from inheriting something. This is usually done by a provision in a will stating that someone who would ordinarily inherit prope... (more...)
To deliberately prevent someone from inheriting something. This is usually done by a provision in a will stating that someone who would ordinarily inherit property -- a close family member, for example -- should not receive it. In most states, you cannot completely disinherit your spouse; a surviving spouse has the right to claim a portion (usually one-third to one-half) of the deceased spouse's estate. With a few exceptions, however, you can expressly disinherit children.

QTIP TRUST

A type of trust for wealthy married couples that allows a surviving spouse to postpone estate taxes. A QTIP trust allows the surviving spouse to make use of the... (more...)
A type of trust for wealthy married couples that allows a surviving spouse to postpone estate taxes. A QTIP trust allows the surviving spouse to make use of the trust property tax-free. Taxes are deferred until the surviving spouse dies and the trust property is received by the final trust beneficiaries, who were named by the first spouse to die.

IRREVOCABLE TRUST

A permanent trust. Once you create it, it cannot be revoked, amended or changed in any way.

LIFE BENEFICIARY

A person who receives benefits, under a trust or by will, for his or her lifetime. For an example, see AB trust.

EXECUTOR

The person named in a will to handle the property of someone who has died. The executor collects the property, pays debts and taxes, and then distributes what's... (more...)
The person named in a will to handle the property of someone who has died. The executor collects the property, pays debts and taxes, and then distributes what's left, as specified in the will. The executor also handles any probate court proceedings and notifies people and organizations of the death. Also called personal representatives.

SPECIAL ADMINISTRATOR

(1) In the law of wills and estates, a person appointed by the court to take charge of only a designated portion of an estate during probate. For example, a spe... (more...)
(1) In the law of wills and estates, a person appointed by the court to take charge of only a designated portion of an estate during probate. For example, a special administrator with particular expertise on art might be appointed to oversee the probate of a wealthy person's art collection, but not the entire estate. (2) A person appointed to be responsible for a deceased person's property for a limited time or during an emergency, such as a challenge to the will or to the qualifications of the named executor. In such cases, the special administrator's duty is to maintain and preserve the estate, not necessarily to take control of the probate process

POUR-OVER WILL

A will that 'pours over' property into a trust when the will maker dies. Property left through the will must go through probate before it goes into the trust.

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.'

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. ...