Your Lawyer Is Not Speaking Swahili: How To The Legal Jargon On A Will

Posted on: 21 November 2014

If you're trying to make sense of a will or trust, don't feel awful if you don't know what a lot of the words mean. It might look like English, but it is actually legalese. Like many areas of law, the language of wills can be complicated and confusing. When a loved one has passed on, analyzing a law dictionary is probably the last thing on your mind. Here are most common legal will terms that individuals have difficulty understanding.

Probate

This is the court procedure, which verifies that the decedent's will is valid. It supports the appointment of the person named to be the executor of the will. Additionally, it refers to the legal document issued by the court confirming that the will filed with the court is the final will of the deceased and that the individual named as estate trustee on the will has authority to manage the estate of the deceased person.

Estate

When used in regards to probate proceedings, this definition encompasses the entire assets that are owned by a decedent before the dissemination of property in a will. A probate estate refers just to the assets covered by your will.

Beneficiary

A beneficiary is an individual or organization such as a hospital or charity, who will receive a decedent's assets. There is no limitation to the quantity of beneficiaries named on a will.

Probate Bond

This is insurance that safeguards inheritors of a will against loss due to the possible mismanagement of assets by the administrator or executor of a will.

Bequest

A gift of personal property, including jewelry, stock, bonds, or cash, possessed by a decedent under the conditions of a will at the time of departure. A bequest can also be of the remainder of what's left after special gifts are made from the will.

Custodian

A person, who handles the property that a minor inherits. This source of this term is a law called the Uniform Transfers to Minors Act, which has been adopted in almost every state.

While drawing up a will and deciding who gets what can seem overwhelming, it's a prudent thing to do for your own peace of mind. It decreases unnecessary disputes for your survivors. While doing this, it is very important to consult a lawyer (such as Robert Stone Attorney at Law) to assist you to choose what's best for your specific situation. When you understand legal terms on a will, it will make the process seem less foreign and daunting.

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