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LEGAL TERMS

TAKING AGAINST THE WILL

A procedure under state law that gives a surviving spouse the right to demand a certain share (usually one-third to one-half) of the deceased spouse's property.... (more...)
A procedure under state law that gives a surviving spouse the right to demand a certain share (usually one-third to one-half) of the deceased spouse's property. The surviving spouse can take that share instead of accepting whatever he or she inherited through the deceased spouse's will. If the surviving spouse decides to take the statutory share, it's called 'taking against the will.' Dower and curtesy is another name for the same legal process.

CREDIT SHELTER TRUST

See AB 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.'

INVESTOR

A person who makes investments. An investor may act either for herself or on behalf of others. A stock broker or mutual fund manager, for instance, makes invest... (more...)
A person who makes investments. An investor may act either for herself or on behalf of others. A stock broker or mutual fund manager, for instance, makes investments for others who have entrusted her with their money.

MINERAL RIGHTS

An ownership interest in the minerals contained in a particular parcel of land, with or without ownership of the surface of the land. The owner of mineral right... (more...)
An ownership interest in the minerals contained in a particular parcel of land, with or without ownership of the surface of the land. The owner of mineral rights is usually entitled to either take the minerals from the land himself or receive a royalty from the party that actually extracts the minerals.

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.

DEATH TAXES

Taxes levied at death, based on the value of property left behind. Federal death taxes are called estate taxes. Some states levy inheritance taxes on people who... (more...)
Taxes levied at death, based on the value of property left behind. Federal death taxes are called estate taxes. Some states levy inheritance taxes on people who inherit property.

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.

INHERITANCE TAXES

Taxes some states impose on people or organizations who inherit property from a deceased person's estate. The taxes are based on the value of the inherited prop... (more...)
Taxes some states impose on people or organizations who inherit property from a deceased person's estate. The taxes are based on the value of the inherited property.

SAMPLE LEGAL CASES

Morrison v. Morrison

... Gardner, III, Tucker, for Appellee. BENHAM, Justice. This is an appeal from a judgment rejecting caveats to a will and admitting the will to probate. Following the death in 2004 of W. Lee Morrison, Jr. (hereinafter, Testator), his 1998 ...

Dorsey v. Kennedy

... died on August 21, 2006, after a long battle with dementia. Dorothy B. Dorsey submitted a July 29, 1999 document purporting to be Kennedy's last will and testament for probate by the Gwinnett County Probate Court, and Kennedy's son and stepson filed caveats. ...

Sharpton v. Hall

... or guardianship. The probate court did not abuse its discretion in interpreting the statute and granting limited access to the records at issue here. We therefore affirm. Stan L. Hall, as administrator of the estate of Raymond Sharpton ...