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LEGAL TERMS

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.

SPRINKLING TRUST

A trust that gives the person managing it (the trustee) the discretion to disburse its funds among the beneficiaries in any way he or she sees fit.

TRUST DEED

The most common method of financing real estate purchases in California (most other states use mortgages). The trust deed transfers the title to the property to... (more...)
The most common method of financing real estate purchases in California (most other states use mortgages). The trust deed transfers the title to the property to a trustee -- often a title company -- who holds it as security for a loan. When the loan is paid off, the title is transferred to the borrower. The trustee will not become involved in the arrangement unless the borrower defaults on the loan. At that point, the trustee can sell the property and pay the lender from the proceeds.

PROBATE COURT

A specialized court or division of a state trial court that considers only cases concerning the distribution of deceased persons' estate. Called 'surrogate cour... (more...)
A specialized court or division of a state trial court that considers only cases concerning the distribution of deceased persons' estate. Called 'surrogate court' in New York and several other states, this court normally examines the authenticity of a will -- or if a person dies intestate, figures out who receives her property under state law. It then oversees a procedure to pay the deceased person's debts and to distribute her assets to the proper inheritors. See probate.

WILL

A document in which you specify what is to be done with your property when you die and name your executor. You can also use your will to name a guardian for you... (more...)
A document in which you specify what is to be done with your property when you die and name your executor. You can also use your will to name a guardian for your young children.

KINDRED

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

BENEFICIARY

A person or organization legally entitled to receive benefits through a legal device, such as a will, trust or life insurance policy.

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.

SUMMARY PROBATE

A relatively simple probate proceeding available for 'small estates,' as that term is defined by state law. Every state's definition is different, and many are ... (more...)
A relatively simple probate proceeding available for 'small estates,' as that term is defined by state law. Every state's definition is different, and many are complicated, but a few examples include estates worth up to $100,000 in California; New York estates where property, excluding real estate and amounts that must be set aside for surviving family members, is worth $20,000 or less; and Texas estates where the value of property doesn't exceed what is needed to pay a family allowance and certain creditors.

SAMPLE LEGAL CASES

Pautsch v. MARYLAND REAL ESTATE COM'N

16 A.3d 977 (2011). 418 Md. 587. JOEL PAUTSCH v. MARYLAND REAL ESTATE COM'N. Pet. Docket No. 619. Court of Appeals of Maryland. Granted April 22, 2011. Petition for Writ of Certiorari granted.

Attorney Grievance v. Kendrick

... 13, 1994, violated Rules 1.1 (Competence), [2] 1.3 (Diligence), [3] 1.5 (Fees), [4] 1.15 (Safekeeping Property), [5] and 8.4 (Misconduct) [6] of the Maryland Rules of Professional Conduct ("MRPC") in her representation as Co-Personal Representative of the Estate of Judith Nina ...

Kroll v. Fisher

... Circuit Court for Allegany County. Appellee is the personal representative of the estate of Mary D. Kroll ("Ms. Kroll"), and prior to Ms. Kroll's death, appellee acted as attorney-in-fact for Ms. Kroll. In his complaint, appellant alleged ...

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