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LEGAL TERMS

HEIR AT LAW

A person entitled to inherit property under intestate succession laws.

PROVING A WILL

Convincing a probate court that a document is truly the deceased person's will. Usually this is a simple formality that the executor or administrator easily sat... (more...)
Convincing a probate court that a document is truly the deceased person's will. Usually this is a simple formality that the executor or administrator easily satisfies by showing that the will was signed and dated by the deceased person in front of two or more witnesses. When the will is holographic -- that is, completely handwritten by the deceased and not witnessed, it is still valid in many states if the executor can produce relatives and friends to testify that the handwriting is that of the deceased.

CURATOR

See conservator.

CERTIFIED COPY

A copy of a document issued by a court or government agency guaranteed to be a true and exact copy of the original. Many agencies and institutions require certi... (more...)
A copy of a document issued by a court or government agency guaranteed to be a true and exact copy of the original. Many agencies and institutions require certified copies of legal documents before permitting certain transactions. For example, a certified copy of a death certificate is required before a bank will release the funds in a deceased person's payable-on-death account to the person who has inherited them.

DEVISEE

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

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.

INTER VIVOS TRUST

The Latin name, favored by some lawyers, for a living trust. 'Inter vivos' is Latin for 'between the living.'

DISTRIBUTEE

(1) Anyone who receives something. Usually, the term refers to someone who inherits a deceased person's property. If the deceased person dies without a will (ca... (more...)
(1) Anyone who receives something. Usually, the term refers to someone who inherits a deceased person's property. If the deceased person dies without a will (called intestate), state law determines what each distributee will receive. Also called a beneficiary.

NET ESTATE

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

SAMPLE LEGAL CASES

Schwartz v. Labow

... The probate court's general jurisdiction encompasses "the internal affairs of trusts" and "[o]ther actions and proceedings involving trustees...." 17000, subds. ... 427 (2) The probate court has general power and duty to supervise the administration of trusts. ...

In re Estate of Young

... (a)(2)(D).) The trial court ruled that the Estate was the prevailing party, because it had showed sufficient evidence of undue influence and fraud in the establishment of the trusts. ... A. Creation of Land Trusts and Operational Trusts; Background. ...

Bilafer v. Bilafer

... SIMONS, Acting PJ. On December 30, 1999, Mitchell J. Bilafer (Mitchell) [1] executed two irrevocable trusts (collectively, the 1999 Trusts). In 2006, Mitchell filed petitions to reform the 1999 Trusts to conform them to his intent. ...