You don’t have to go very far into the Will creation process before you will likely come across some new words you may not have heard before. When it comes to Wills, there is a lot of terminology used that is probably not familiar to you. Let’s take a look at some of the most commonly encountered words that you might find.
Probate. Though you may have heard the word probate before, you are probably unclear about what it meant. Probate is the set of laws and procedures that apply primarily after someone has died and left behind certain types of property. Probate can be used as both a noun and a verb, which often makes the word more confusing than it needs to be. For example, every state has a probate court that is responsible for hearing probate cases. You may hear someone say, for example, that they have to get a Will probated. This simply means that they must take the Will in front of a probate court judge so the court can determine if the Will meets all the state legal requirements.
Intestate. A person who dies intestate is someone who dies without having created a Will. If a person creates a Will, he or she dies testate. Intestacy is important because if a person does not have a Will, the state laws of intestate succession determine how that person’s property is distributed to new owners.
Decedent. A decedent is simply a person who has died. Though most people would probably refer to such a person as deceased, many laws and attorneys use the word decedent instead.